We stopped in at our local Social & Child Welfare offices on our way home. No, they hadn’t received the email the CW said she’d be writing while we were on our way. Yes, they could definitely give us the initial forms etc. to fill but would only progress and do a physical home check once they heard from the out of town CW. The local social worker was so excited for us and incredibly helpful and positive.
We filled in the ‘life history’ forms Wednesday evening and used Thursday lunch hour to get to the police station for our stamped and signed affidavit regarding no criminal history etc. Headed to the hospital lab for the required ‘urine test’ but didn’t complete that as nobody knew what it was to check for exactly, even after the nurse phoned the Social Welfare offices to double check.
Later in the day, I called the local SW to see if there’d been any comms from the CW. There hadn’t. I called the CW and she sounded totally confused as to what email or letter I was talking about as she had no recollection of her own words about sending comms ahead to our local SW. Believe me, I had to physically hold my breath and just keep silent a couple of times during that conversation. She now said that the first step would be for her to get the court application in to officially ‘unplace’ him from his current foster home. (which, by the way, he’d already been removed from and placed back with Grandmother, who, we were to learn, had zero guardianship or any legal say at all)
**This is my experience and my opinion — When you deal with government social welfare departments and government social workers, you are entirely at their mercy. No matter how slack, slow, wrongly informed, or pleasant (hah!), they are, you have to keep your cool, be polite and bite back your frustration. If not, you’re labelled as difficult, impatient, etc. That’s all I will say about that. I knew this way before 2016**
THE NEXT TWO WEEKS
We spent the next to weeks preparing both physically and emotionally, sharing the news with our parents, pastor and close friends, making sure to only call the CW or SW for possible updates or changes every so often so as to not be a ‘nuisance’. If we had known that he was peacefully placed with a steady foster mom/dad/family, there would’ve been no need for us to call and follow up. This was not the case. The day after our meeting him, he was removed from the Grandmother and placed with a seasoned and experienced foster couple who are registered to foster for up to two weeks at a time in crisis situations. We knew that, if court dates and red tape didn’t get a move on, he’d be moved yet again after the two weeks was up. Another unnecessary disruption to his little life, his little heart. Maddening.
With mentions of ‘toddler showers’ and generous offers of everything from cute bedding sets to child care assistance and professional therapy, I allowed myself only 3 purchases in preparation for his ‘homecoming’ – a bright fireman/fire-engine print fleece blanket, a pair of cute long winter jammies and 2 pairs of non slip socks.
I was determined to hold out until the next Monday to call the CW to make sure the court date was on track. DH felt otherwise and called her mid-morning. She reiterated that she was waiting on the actual court date to be set for the official ‘unplacement’ and that we must “be patient”.
Something made me phone our local SW office before calling the original CW. She was her pleasant self and asked if we’d been contacted by the CW at all. No, we hadn’t. “I’m so devastated for you”, she said, amongst other things. My heart absolutely froze. Had he been hurt? Had he been killed? (Yes, I tend to jump to the worst case scenario.) The fact was that the CW had called our local SW office THE THURSDAY BEFORE and told them to not call us but that we would not be considered to foster the boy. This phone call was made the DAY BEFORE the CW spoke to my DH – the day before she said to him, Be Patient. We’d spent the weekend in happy preparation and dreamland, expecting to possibly collect the little guy and begin the hard and awesome transition weeks in a couple of days. Broken.
It turned out that the CW’s supervisor, once she had been updated on the case and the goings on, had reprimanded the CW as we apparently should not have been considered from day one, simply because we live a 2 hour’s drive away. In this day and age? A 2 hour’s drive is prohibitive to future visitations/reunification of birth mom and child? 2 hours? A hardship? Really? We would’ve driven miles for that kid. For his well being; whatever path that ended up being. And, it turned out, the birth mother was now magically not AWOL at all and actually in rehab and on track and had all intentions of stepping up to be a real mother at last.
Do you know that I never phoned the original CW to confirm her horse-crap unprofessionalism and her cowardice. I never phoned to make certain that this was true; that her total ineptitude was the reason that this boy would now not be placed securely as soon as possible and that we’d been living in some invented future of our dreams thanks to her.
Worse; she never phoned me. Never phoned us. Never explained. Never apologised. Never let us know if he was okay. Never let us know if was placed. Never let us know.
Who are we, after all? Some couple; some unknowing couple with no legal right to know anything at all. Some couple who have a dozen conspiracy theories ranging from, oh no, are we not good enough, to, there must be something illegal going on, like, case worker bribing or underhanded queue-jumping on the part of waiting adoptive couples. Yep, I know.
We’re heartbroken. We prayed for that little boy to be securely watched by He who watches over every sparrow and numbers every blond hair on that special head. We pray for him still.