Guest post by Heather Rosenberg, a foster and adoptive parent for almost five years. This is the first post in her blogging series.
Twenty-three months ago, before I had met Liam or Elie, one of my fellow foster moms hinted I might receive a placement call for a 9-day-old baby named Liam, a little boy who desperately needed a home. When I heard the phone ring I already suspected it would be Big Bend Community Based Care Placement Specialist Rachel Bassett, who has placed children with me before. Covered in water from bathing my recently adopted child and current foster baby, I reached for the phone, already prepared to say “yes” (I am one of those mothers whose first instinct is to say “yes, yes, yes” even though my husband fusses at me for doing that). Shortly after, I raced out the door to go meet the child protective investigator and pick up the new baby. That was how Liam came to our family.
Upon taking care of Liam, I discovered that his parents experienced multiple mental health issues, drug abuse, homelessness, violence, criminal activity and were former foster children themselves. BBCBC Lead Dependency Case Manager Bethanie Milford worked between us and Liam’s parents to ensure Liam was in the best care, wherever that meant he was supposed to be. As many assume, this is a messy time of tracking paperwork and referrals and struggling to stay in communication with the busy case manager. However, Bethanie was anything but average. In fact, as a 10-year veteran case manager, she took her role as family advocate very seriously, and she was determined to do everything in her power to break the cycle of abuse in this family.
Bethanie went out of her way to set up visitations with the biological family, asked about our family’s needs, got every single piece of documentation I asked for as soon as I asked for it, provided follow up and constant communication with both us and the biological family, and gave referrals and services at least once a week. She would even reach out to me before I could even reach out to her.
I watched in awe as Bethanie did things I had only ever dreamed a case manager would, should or even could do to help heal a broken family. It was incredible. Watching Bethanie started to restore some of my faith in a system I have only ever seen fail since I was a young teen and watched my own siblings fall into the system having their lives slowly broken, piece by piece.
But this was only the beginning of Liam’s story.
Stay tuned for Heather’s next blog post, where she talks about the next events in Liam’s life.