Great questions Femeni!! As moderator, I'm giving your thread a bump to make sure others see it!
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When we first took placement of our foster boys, the agency did NOTHING to facilitate a relationship between us and the birth parents. We were never included in the family planning meetings. I finally was able to contact Mom and arranged a meeting over coffee! WOW, what a difference it makes when you can have contact! During our meeting I acknowledged that she had a right to know whatever she wanted about me and my husband, our home, and our lifestyle. TWO foster families lost their license while her kid was in care with them (way to go DHS!). Of course she was very scared about where her kids were living. In my opinion, this birth Mom was as much a victim of the child welfare system as her kids. Treating her well and acknowledging the shortfalls in the system for both her and boys lead to good choices for everybody. She acknowledged that she couldn't care for her boys the right way and wanted the decision to terminate rights to be hers, not a judge's. Once she signed the termination papers, I continued to give her updates on the boys. I have allowed more and more time between updates and don't make contact during the holidays and birthdays. She needs to heal from this too and I don't want to create false expectations about her involvement in their lives! Because the oldest boy is 5 and was bonded to her I didn't see that I could deny contact between them. He will also tell his baby brother about her which I suspect might peek his interest in seeing her too. My requirements before they can have contact is that the 5 year old's therapist feels he's ready (it might be a few years), and she's living a stable life.
As for Birth Dad, he took it all the way to court and a judge had to terminate his rights. He is a despicable human being, but it still broke my heart to see his reaction to the termination. We could never establish a relationship with him. And even though he failed to show up for the Goodbye visit, we sent him a card and pictures of the kids. It's likely our boys will seek him out when they are older and as much as possible I wanted him to have positive feelings about the kids.
Another layer we have is that our oldest boy spent a year with an awesome foster mom (and Dad and sister). Had the case been handled correctly she would have adopted him. When he went back into care, DHS failed to contact her for placement. I am this little boy's FIFTH foster mom! It was pure luck that we were able to get in contact with each other. I can't deny that relationship either. We keep in contact on regular basis and see that developing as an Aunt like relationship. We do refer to her daughter as his sister!
Foster parenting has transformed me in ways I could not have imagined a year ago. It was my original intent to adopt these boys and never have contact with anyone from their past ever again!
With my first DD no relationship. With my 2nd DD, we have a decent relationship with her bio dad. We've taken him out to brunch on holidays, met at the park, and went to his baptism. DD is 3 so she doesn't get who he is and is very weary of strangers. So they don;t have a lot of contact when we see him, my oldest DD is actually more friendly with him, she's 4.
We now have a foster son that is 11 and we do community visits with his 21 year old sister, she attends his basketball games. It is still new, but I am sure we will continue and support her if she decides to take moves to make a plan to get him back.
Carly, mama to DS C (5th grade), DD Miss M (07/09, fostered 1/10, adopted 08/10), and Little Miss C (11/10, fostered 01/11, adopted 11/12). Foster Son, Mr. A, age 11 placed 10/13.
My angel babies , ~01/08~ (twins), ~09/08~, and ~01/09~.
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