When I was dating Mr. Hall we decided to have 3 babies then start fostering. When I was pregnant with baby #3 I started filling out the paperwork. When River was 2 months old and nursing up a storm, a girl arrived. I called her Melody because I didn't get her real name. I was at Zumba when she came. She was 4.
She stayed for 3 years. Her mama never really got better. A combination of mental health problems, drug use, ghettotude and selfish choices do not make stability sustainable. Melody had like 500 family members but only a small percentage stepped up and offered to take care of her. Only a small percentage of that percentage could pass a drug test and a background check. Finally an auntie showed up that cleared all the hurdles. Two inches of the ground hurtles, but she passed them.
We were called the white village by the auntie. Our village was a shameful secret in the family so when Melody left they didn't talk to us. I sent that auntie like 500 photos of her time with us. Making sure it was mostly just Melody, not the white folks with her. Two years go by, we hear nothing.
Which brings us to two months ago when we learn the auntie has had enough. She's done. So, the social worker asks, can you take the child back? We pray. We hem. We haw. We decide no. Because the plan is to support a reunification with mom. Mom has not and cannot change. I'm crying because hurting and ugly. But we said no. Melody is placed with another white village. We offer to be in the background, providing respite as needed. Which is a fancy foster care word for babysitting.
The new white folks ask us to baby sit for a week and we say yes. It was awkward when she came. It's all hey, sorry your plans of healing with your auntie didn't work out. Sorry your mom is still a huge mess. But hey, we missed you and remember our cat? She did remember our cat. Two years later she remembers the cat's name. I didn't really say the first part btw.
There were times where I had to leave the room because I would be so sad with her. She was my daughter for those three years. She was a mess and tore up drywall. She carved stuff into the side of my car. Destruction was her language. It was never more loud than during the 10 trips we took to visit her auntie as we moved her down there. Long ass 2 hour drives with her screaming and tantrumming. Then passing out cold. I drove her each time. Because I needed to be there for her because I loved her and wanted to help with her pain. Still do.
In the middle of the visit we learn the other white village is only temporary. And through the underground tunnels of commination we are asked, Can you take the child back? We don't answer this time.
Then we prepar her for a visit with mom. Still at the supervised visit level. Mom said she had a flat tire and the anger I felt was unbelievable. The plan is to reunite Melody with mom and mom can't even make a visit. What happens when she's in school and she get's a call that her daughter is sick. Who is going to pick her up? Then I get angrier. Why is she still in foster care, five years later? Why is mom even being considered for reunification?
I leave all these questions up to Mr. Hall to ask. He is a sensei of foster care communication. He is logical, charming, good looking and very much a guy who can negotiate conversations between multiple females. Mad skills.
What I do is this. I say, sorry your mom couldn't make the visit. Let's go to Costco, it's a crazy store with lots of big huge items. I buy her a book and we get the dollar fifty hot dog on the way out. As she's grazing she starts to cry and I hold her. Because I can love her and comfort her. And I do as she cries and eats the hot dog. In Costco.
And that is why we are taking her back and whatever happens with this crazy process happens.