Foster Care Reunification = Return to family
As a foster parent, I can’t stress this enough to anyone who is considering foster care – the main and end goal of almost every child case is reunification. I heard it over and over. Every class, every meeting, every court hearing. It is a process of always working to get the child back to their family. Fostering is very difficult because, yes, you might have to give that child back. Back to a healthy parent, an alcoholic parent, a drug abuser, or a domestic abuser. Each case is only given a certain amount of time, so it will not go on forever. However, a parent of a newborn baby will get more time. My baby’s birth mom was given a limit of 18 months to get herself together. DHS will give a birth parent every service available all FREE. Paid by our tax dollars. Free gas cards, Walmart gift cards, counseling, therapy, food, housing, bus passes, formula, diapers and money. They are given everything possible to help them succeed. Yet a lot of them cannot clear the first hurdle.
My baby’s birth mom’s list of requirements.
- Have a place to live
- Maintain a job
- Complete drug rehab
- Complete counseling/therapy
- Provide clean UAs
- Attend her visits and engage
That’s it. She did not have her child to take care of and she could not accomplish even one requirement. As time went on some things were added and others were not so important any more. I don’t know the birth mom and my interactions with her weren’t often. I did what she asked and I took care of her baby. That was my only role in this child’s case. I can’t say anything bad about her because I have not walked in her shoes nor do I know anything about her life or her past. This is the role of a foster parent. It is a thankless job. I only know that my baby was placed in foster care because his birth mom was smoking meth and pot while she was pregnant. Even on the day he was born. I am not an addict, so I can’t say anything about that. But I do know my baby will have to live with what she has done to him. She did not get him back and I can honestly say I am thankful. Because I know he is safe and I can finally get to be a mom, I adopted him in February of 2016.
I will not deny, I know she loved him so much. And that is the most heartbreaking part for all these children in the system.
This is where I started my foster care journey http://www.ifapa.org
This is for foster care in Iowa.