Uncertain Isn’t that an odd emotion? Uncertain. I’m uncertain of how I’m feeling right now. Earlier this week, the foster kid unexpectedly announced they were leaving.
(Forgive the "they" pronoun as well as the awkward wording as I’m trying to keep some degree of anonymity for the kid.)
The foster kid decided a month ago that they wanted to go home. They decided that none of what they accused their parents of doing was true – so the kid wanted to home and get out of the system. When the kid decided this, the kid never told anyone but their attorney. No communication with friends, the foster parents (aka us) or even the social workers. The decision was announced in court leaving everyone who has been trying to help this kid at a loss of what to do.
A week ago, another hearing was had regarding his status. The judge ruled that the kid needed to stay in our care – but acknowledged the kid is 18 too. So earlier this week, the kid sent G a text message, said nothing to his friend (one of our kids) about his decision – and moved out. G expressed the concerns everyone had and told the kid to be well. There wasn’t a lot more to say or do. My other daughter and their mutual friends all expressed the same concerns. As one said so perfectly, we all have burned into our mind an image of this kid frantically trying to do whatever was necessary to not be sent home because they were scared – they did not feel safe. To hear the "oh that has changed" when little time has passed is not something that can erase that image of that kid at the start of this journey.
Yesterday, some more crap happened resulting in a message to G and me from "the kid" saying he was cutting all ties with our family. I put "the kid" in quotation marks because I’m about 90% sure it is the kid’s parents who sent those messages, not the kid. The word choices and punctuation in the messages demonstrated that. Also, when I asked which daughter being referred to, they used her full name which is something the kid never ever did.
On one hand, I’m relieved. While I want the kid to be safe, the hardest part of this whole thing has been the parents. No matter what court order has been put in place – no matter what boundary has been set with them – they have violated it without consequence. That has put G and me on edge for months as we try to sort out all of this shit. And during all of this, I have worried about our family – what is it doing to the family – are they putting our family at risk of something? How will what we are doing going to come back and bite us in the ass? Not because the kid is doing something but because the parents will.
I am also angry and frustrated. I’m angry at the fact that the behaviors and all that got the parents in this situation are being allowed to continue. Because of this being allowed to continue, it is triggering the kid to fall into old habits – old cycles of abuse. I’m angry at the parents who think they are getting away with something, and I’m angry that more couldn’t be done to keep the kid in a good place.
I am trying to be hopeful too. Hopefully that there is a bigger plan that I just haven’t seen. That it is all part of a strategy by all of the agencies involved.
But I’m also realistic. The kid is a legal adult now. It will likely be a while before they can see what others have seen – others have witnessed in terms of the kid’s experience. I just hope that between now and when the kid realizes it all that they are safe. But as I keep reminding myself, that is up to the kid – I can only do so much.