So here’s the background and the story –
I am the foster parent for two young children (ages 2 and 3) throughout the last year and a half. Termination of parental rights is set for April. I have a good relationship with their mother and I’m able to facilitate her visits with the kids even though the agency would say no (don’t tell anyone). Their fathers are not in the picture of their own choosing. Their mom now lives about an hour from me. She is originally from California and I’m in Kansas. Their mom has family (an aunt) in California who would take the children in, if the mom’s rights are terminated. This aunt tried to obtain possession of the children, when they were first taken into foster care. At that time the goal was reunification with their mom. Therefore, the agency didn’t want to move them that far away from their mom.
Their mom wants to do whatever is best for her kids and has said she is fine with them living either with me or with the aunt, if she can’t get custody of her children. So here’s my question, would the kids be better off living with their biological family, even though they’ve never met their aunt and would have to move away from their mom or with me, the place they know as home currently and where they can still be around their mom?
I love them and would definitely keep them – if I need to – but I don’t want to do that, if it is in any way putting myself above them. They have had a lot of trauma, from being moved around a lot in foster care, before they came to me and they really struggle with being away from me, even for short periods. That has always made me worry about them with regard to having to move again, but I’ve thought maybe I could go with them and stay in California for a week or so, if they do move and we could do a transition – to make this change less of a traumatic issue. Is that enough? Also, they are bi-racial and I am mostly white. Though one does have Native American and I do as well, they are dark skinned, where as I am not.
I have heard through the caseworker that the aunt has adopted other children within her family – so I’m going on the assumption that it’s a stable home with some trauma background.
Another woman, who is both an adoptive and a foster parent replies –
Long term, yes, it will be better for them to be with their family. Genetic and racial mirrors are both vitally important. They are very little, so while it may be a hard transition, they will be okay. I would see if you can start video chats with the family in California now, so that the kids can get familiar with them. But absolutely, you need to make the child welfare workers aware that you want the aunt to adopt. They need to start the ICPC process now – if this hasn’t happened already because it can take several months to complete. And the sooner these kids can get to the aunt the better.
The ICPC is The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. The purpose of ICPC is to ensure that children placed out of their home state receive the same protections and services that would be provided if they remained in their home state.