> No More Secrets And Lies: Goodbye Foster Homes

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Goodbye Foster Homes

Mary stayed only at my home, even though the understanding was that she would stay at both parents' homes and abide by the week-by-week schedule her mother and I had been on for years. But after that first week, when it was time for her to go over to her mom's house, she refused. And even though I emphasized that this would only work if she followed our parenting schedule, she said she couldn't live with her mom and didn't think her mom wanted her to live with her. I called her mom and told her I was having difficulty getting Mary to go over to her house, expecting to have a long discussion about this, but she said that was fine. She wanted Mary to stay with me. And for the first time, maybe ever, we didn't have our usual "discussion" about our parenting schedule, and I was surprised as to why this was.

I wasn't sure how long I would be able to keep Mary at my home, however, and keep her out of trouble — this had been a big job for most of her group homes and would be an even bigger job for one parent. And even though Mary was only going to be home until we found a foster home, I wasn't sure even a short stay was possible since this hadn't been possible anywhere else in the previous two years.

Mary knew we were still looking for a foster home for her, and she was okay with this as long as the one we chose was close to home. I had been looking for foster homes on my own and I found two within an hour of Mankato: one in Faribault and one in Eagle Lake. They weren't exactly what the doctor had ordered, and Karen and Mary's social worker made it clear to me they preferred the one in Fergus Falls instead, but they agreed to at least look at these homes. We looked at both of them but preferred the one in Eagle Lake because we liked the foster parents better. I liked it because it was only a half-hour from Mankato. A date was set to place Mary at this home, but when that day rolled around, the foster mother was in the hospital, and we had to cancel the placement.

By then Mary had been home for about a month, things were going fine, and I wondered whether she needed to be placed at all at this point. She was settling in, was enrolled in school, and I was taking her to the Twin Cities to a vision therapy specialist every week. I was beginning to think I didn't want her to go to a foster home at all — partly because I didn't want her to move anymore. But even more, I missed her and honestly didn't want her out of my life anymore. I wanted her to be home with her family. She didn't want to go to a foster home either and expressed this:

"Dad. Why don't I just stay home? I don't want to go to a foster home anyway even if it's close to home. I can do this, Dad. We can do this. You and I get along great."

"We'll do it as long as we can, Mary. I'm pretty sure we can do it, too. I think we should try. "

We did try it and we never looked for a foster home again for Mary.


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