Today is our last day to spend with Boy fully in our family. Tomorrow morning, we’ll be dropping him off at his parents’ home for reunification with them. We’ve done as much as we can to prepare him for the transition, and he is clearly troubled by the proclamation of change coming.
We told him Wednesday morning – I immediately declared to the world that I was taking the rest of the week off – and he often stopped playing and stared at his toys for a while. We started giving him the toys we’d bought for him for Christmas and went to Target to get him a (Spiderman) backpack for his cars… and I couldn’t resist getting him 5 more cars.
He woke with a very troubled cry and Boy sobbed on my shoulder for a good 3 minutes before I got him out of his nite-nite diaper. We gave him another toy (a huge John Deere tractor with a front-end loader) and we played with it for a while until he got that stare again. Once in the kitchen, he lost his dinner from the night before – he was so worked up over the whole thing.
Instead of his parents’ normal unsupervised visits out and about, we took him over, sat and talked with them, answered questions, set up his toys in his room, and played a while. Then we left to come back 3 hours later after they’d had lunch.
When we returned, it was clear that he belongs with them – he was comfortable and looks so much like them! We went straight to Nana and Papa’s house for playing and dinner. He got some more presents and we gathered more things for him to get started in his new home.
Super encouraging, his parents expressed how much harm they think it’d be to never see us again, so they said we could pick him up for church every Sunday or whenever. We invited them to hop in the car whenever they want to come along to get out of the house on a weekend. On our way home, we realized how nice it was to sit and visit for far longer than we expected, it wasn’t awkward, and we thought that instead of always taking him out, we could sometimes just come over and bring dinner for everyone.
So… tomorrow, we’ll drop him off, go home for a few hours, and then drive across the bay for his mom’s wheelchair games event. We asked if they’d rather us bow out from that earlier invitation, given the timing now. His dad said, “we might as well make it a big, fun family day together.” They consider us his family now, and we don’t have any problem with that. We’re here to help, encourage, and continue a relationship with Boy as we build relationships with his parents.
Taking a break
We are going to be taking a couple of months off from fostering now. Our specialist moved us to the inactive list while we heal and get to know his parents. Besides that, we personally need to spend more time together: dating, laughing, relaxing – the stuff we did before we had a toddler who was the focus of most of our daily attention. Business-wise, we’ve had several “barely made it” months and a couple of dipping into savings months, so I really need to build up another nest egg before we bring in another little one. After the holidays will be best for all so we have some idea of planning things without last-minute “oh, you need to be available for a visit on Thanksgiving or Christmas” news.
Changing things up
We are thinking that, since we went a bit over our comfort zone of 0-2 with a 2 1/2 yo we had for 6 months, we’d try to wait for a 4-12 month old girl this time. Not walking or talking would be a change, eh?