16th Apr, 2008

That’s more like it!

So Angel wasn’t sent home at a moment’s notice – lucky, as I hadn’t packed all his clothes and toys.

In my heart I couldn’t believe the Magistrate would really do that to this little boy; just rip him from the family he knows and loves, to return to a Grandma who has become almost a stranger having barely seen him each month. He’s been given the one thing needed if this reunification attempt is not to traumatise him – time. We are now speaking in months. The next court case is scheduled for early June.

In the meantime regular, more frequent access has been court-ordered for Grandma. Next week she has two visits, each of two hours, three visits the following week, then increasing to four the week after that. One a week will be held at DHS and I have been invited to attend a part of that, which I willcertainly do. It can only help Angel to see me with Grandma, and I want to impart a little of his routine and his needs to her if I can. The other access visits will be at her place which will enable Angel to become familiar with the home he left almost nine months ago and the other members of the family. This includes his mum and two older sibs so there are many people to get used to again.

At the end of four weeks the transition will be reviewed to make sure Grandma is abiding by the guidelines and demonstrating her commitment to her grandson. I guess if she doesn’t seem to be complying the plan for reunification will be reassessed. I hope she comes through with flying colours. I need her to, to be able to believe that going home is in Angel’s best interests.

All kids belong with their family, and if that family doesn’t meet my ideals of the very best family for that child, who am I to judge? I did have a little dream, when Angel’s birth family moved off the scene for a bit, of him moving on to a loving “permanent care family”. Whenever he was at his most charming and cute (and he’s very good at that) I imagined how delighted his new mum and dad would be adding him to their family. I’ve participated in transitions to adoptive and permanent families in the past.  Although it’s always difficult farewelling a child who’s been yours for so long, the outcomes for both the child and families have always been excellent, and I look back at all of them very positively.

Angel returning home means a shift in my projective thoughts. I can do that (well I hardly have a choice do I; I’m the foster mum). Not knowing the family at all makes it more difficult, so I’ll be pushing for more contact over the next month, and hope I can develop some rapport with Grandma, even though we don’t speak the same language.

I don’t anticipate having contact with the family after reunification (as I still do with one little girl who left my care five years ago, but still regularly stays with us, and is truly still my little girl) but I would like to have a positive image of Angel within his home and family to help me cope with him going.

Angel’s family have been given their chance. I’m on the sidelines watching, hoping they do a good job of it, so my heart is easier when the day finally comes when I have to hand my sweet little boy back to them.


[…] Carer’s perspective on reunification April 22, 2008 at 3:53 pm | In Uncategorized | An Australian foster mum blogs about her experience and emotion about the reunification process between “Angel” and his […]

the hardest part that I am yet to face! Yet this is why we do it isnt?


I’m so glad to hear the the reunification time has been extended out a bit, in order to have more visitation between Angel and his grandmother. I agree with you, it would’ve been so hard on Angel if an immediate move was made!

We’re facing a reunification in t he near future as well. Our 5 month old foster daughter (we’ve had her since she was 3 weeks old) is expected to be moved back in with her parents in mid-July.

As hard as it’s been to give up time with this precious baby girl, I think it’s a good thing that her parents have been given increased visitation with her in their home. She needs time to re-create a bond with them before she leaves our family to re-join her own.

We’ve been lucky, her parents have bent over backwards to work their case plans, never missing a visit, and we’ve had the chance to see how very much they love their daughter and want to turn their lives around to get her back.

Having this knowledge will make it easier on my heart when the baby goes back home.

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