Guest post by Heather Rosenberg, a foster and adoptive parent for almost five years. This is the second post in her blogging series.
After many, many months of failed visits, lack of progress on case plan tasks, and then ultimately the disappearance of the parents, the posture of the case changed from reunification to adoption. I became acquainted with the Children’s Legal Services attorney assigned to the case, Diana Korn, when she reached out to me to answer some of the legal questions I was asking about how the process worked. I was able to see first-hand how well Bethanie and Diana worked together on this case. All along the way, Diana would call me at various points to make certain that my family understood what was happening in the legal arena. I had never had a CLS attorney keep me so well-informed in the process of the legal system, which was incredibly helpful because every case is unique.
The other person who played an integral role in this case was the guardian ad litem, Karen Isch. Karen visited Liam at his daycare (which was in a different county from where Karen worked), our home, during visitations with his parents – she even came to a doctor’s appointment to visit him while he was getting shots (and helped me calm him down after those shots). Besides her expected career duties, she wanted to help in any way. She even helped during the holidays – she put Liam’s name on the list to receive gifts through the GAL office!
Then our story changed again. Shortly before Liam turned 1, we were told that his mother was pregnant again. We were asked if we would consider being the placement resource for that child as well, if the baby were to be sheltered. The maternal instinct in me was to say “yes, yes, yes” again, but I knew that my husband and I were stretched very thin with the two boys we already had as Liam had some complicated medical needs that kept me out of work a lot traveling to the children’s clinic in Jacksonville for his specialists.
Not wanting to give up on the idea of keeping the siblings together if the new baby was removed as well, my husband and I started a several-month-long dialog as to whether we could financially afford to take the new baby, had the physical resources to fit a third car seat into our vehicles, could find a child care center that would take a brand new baby, could handle another child with complex medical needs like Liam had, and whether we had the emotional capacity to go through this again—as this case has been the most emotionally draining case we’ve ever had. We knew our own relationship had been strained through the course of this – and we were both exhausted. Could we handle another child?
Stay tuned for Heather’s next guest blog post, where she talks about the next big events in Liam’s life.