Another tear jerker for me :( I had to start and stop writing this one many times before getting it done. I'm wondering why I am putting myself through this but it is therapeutic to finally write it down.
Besides short term respite we didn't take another placement for several months, we needed the break. On the evening of my birthday we got a call for placement of a 3 month old biracial little boy. The worker said it would be a very short stay (2 weeks at most) and that she could find no one else to take him. We accepted the placement thinking it's only two weeks, we won't be too attached in two weeks. I remember the entire drive to pick Isaiah up I was praying that he would be a fussy, ugly little thing (so I wouldn't instantly fall in love). Just my luck, as I looked in the car seat I saw the most beautiful precious baby boy looking (smiling)back at me...I was a goner from that moment. Isaiah turned out to be one of the most easy going, smiley, cuddly babies I had ever met. Brooke loved having a baby in the house to love on again.
Well as happens most times in foster world, Isaiah's two week stay turned into a MUCH longer stay. He not only had visits with bio dad but also an aunt that wasn't sure if she could take him or not. But even with all the visits Isaiah continued to be a happy go lucky little guy. The next 11 months were filled with uncertainty as the decision to place Isaiah with his aunt went back and forth. During those same 11 months our family was falling completely in love with Isaiah. The decision was finally made to move Isaiah to the aunts house and we were devastated but had no say or standing in the decision. The workers in his case were heartless and viewed us as nothing more than babysitters.
Three weeks later we got a call from Isaiah's worker saying that she was having to remove Isaiah from the aunt's home and asked if he could return to us. We were overjoyed. When we picked him up from the worker the next day, Isaiah saw me get out of the car and started trying to escape from his car seat and was hollering "momma, momma, momma". When I picked him up out of his car seat Isaiah hugged my neck and wouldn't let go. The worker made the comment "well it looks like he knows who you are" and she preceded to tell us that she was happy that we accepted him back and that it looked like we'd be adopting him...what a change of attitude.
For the next few months the aunt stilled received visits (supervised now) but all talk was of us adopting Isaiah after termination of parental rights. We're not sure exactly what happened but before termination could be done, a grandma paid for aunt to get an attorney to fight for having Isaiah sent back to her. The worker wouldn't tell us any information but said that the agency had decided to just send Isaiah back instead of fighting it. By this time Isaiah had been with us long enough (12 months in our state) to qualify us as an interested party so we hired a lawyer to fight on our behalf.
By hiring our own attorney we opened up a huge can of worms but we felt that we had to fight for what we thought was right for Isaiah when no one else was. Once our lawyer filed our motion with the court the agency was not allowed to move Isaiah before the case was heard by the judge. Our agency was furious with us because now technically we were saying that they were wrongfully handling the case.
Unsupervised visits started up again with the aunt. Isaiah was feeling the stress of his life changing once again. After visits he would just lay around and numerous times throughout everyday he would come up to me and pat my chest saying "my momma" and then snuggle on my lap for the longest time. He was no longer the happy go lucky little boy that he once was.
The court date was set for the day before Christmas Eve. We knew that the chances of us still losing Isaiah were high.. Cases like this just weren't the norm and success rate was very low but we knew we were doing the right thing and that we would regret a decision not to fight for the rest of our lives. In the end the judge (who was fairly new), with tears in her eyes, said that because termination had not had a chance to happen yet that she was forced to allow Isaiah to be sent back to the aunt because he was not in "immediate danger" and she was a blood relative. The judge looked at us and apologized and then looked at aunt and told her that she better not make another mistake and that she got lucky this time. We have heard that the judge mentions our case all the time saying that she felt that she listened to the DA about what decisions she could and couldn't make instead of looking further into it herself and that she felt she failed the child in our case...and that she won't make that mistake again.
We had Isaiah for two more weeks (after he went to the aunt for Christmas) and then he was picked up from our home by his worker. When she strapped him into the car he was crying and screaming for momma :( That's the last time we saw him. He was with us for a total of 15 months from the age of three months to eighteen months. Isaiah would now be 8 years old.
** Our next foster child (Lexy) was placed in our home one month before Isaiah left for the first time. Lexy and Isaiah were only 8 months apart in age and Isaiah loved that baby girl so much. It makes me sad to think that he was taken from Lexy...and Brooke. I still miss that little boy so much :(