Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Riding the Grief Train

So it's been almost 2 weeks since Niblet was legally returned to her dad. We've seen her once a week since, on the weekend. The first day was just the afternoon and we brought her back after dinner. This weekend we took her for the afternoon and overnight.

She is wonderful and continues to amaze us with her constant learning and her extreme cuteness.

At first, we were very happy to have the whole process over with. Her dad finally has her back and the county doesn't dictate little Niblet's life any more. It's a good thing. Her dad is very willing, even happy, to have us in her life, and we don't lose out on seeing her. It has really gone as well as could be hoped for.

But (and you knew there was a but, right?) it has still happened. We have still lost our baby girl. We have still lost the dreams we had. Lost the right to have her 24/7. Lost the right to be her moms. We will always have had that and we will always have lost it.
This apparently takes about 2 weeks to settle in and now that it has, well, it hurts.

We are sad. And since there's really nothing we can do about it, it's kind of aggrevating to be sad, so we're upset that we're sad. Helpful, I know.

I certainly don't want to cut off visits with her. I love her and want to see her as often as possible. It's just very hard to be with her and not be her parent. To put her to sleep and know that, in the morning, we'll be bringing her back to her parents.

Oh, yes, I said parents. Because her mom is back in the picture. Released from jail, I'm assuming, and seemingly living with Niblet and her dad. We have no idea what to think of this and can't figure out a way to ask someone if it's a good thing or not without it getting back to the parents and having them cut off our visits because they think we're narc-ing for The County.

The best thing I can come up with is asking the counselor here at work who the dad worked with. She has no connection to the county at all. But confidentiality really keeps her from saying anything to me. I just imagine that if I went to her crying and asked her to just tell me if she thought Niblet was safe with her mom around, she might tell me the truth. And, really, I want the answer to be yes. I think that it would be a good thing for Niblet to have her mom around. She's way younger than the dad, more "with it", and it reduces the chances that he'll get fed up with her. Sharing the load is always better.

Anyway, so this adds to the stressful feelings regarding Niblet. Not helpful.

It's just hard. I've never really had anything like this happen and I don't know how to grieve and move through it, while still maintaining a relationship with Niblet and her family.

There's no Wikipedia entry for this. No book I can get from the library. Hopefully time and friends will cure all. Until then...this sucks.


Julie said...

I am sorry this hurts so much. It is just hard. There are no real answers or quick fixes. You are right to question the mom- I would ask the co-worker. Isnt' the county still checking in on them? I pray for little Niblet. I hope she is safe and continues to thrive. I pray also for ya'll that you will soon not be so sad, but it is hard believe me, I know. The only thing that has saved me is another baby. Another little life to focus on. It isn't a great answer but it has helped. Hang in there!

FosterMommy said...

Thanks, Julie, for that. I know you understand and, believe me, we're having to hold back hard not to get back on the list and take in another baby. But we're giving ourselves time and hoping for our permanent baby. If s/he doesn't come in a few months, then we'll probably take foster again. :)

I suspect we'll just let the mom thing play out unless we have cause to think Niblet isn't being cared for.

However, as fostermama pointed out, it's not really right that bio-mom gets to not complete any of her treatment or anything else the court ordered, and still gets to have Niblet back because dad did all his work. Just doesn't seem right. But the judge didn't TPR her and left it to dad's discretion, so c'est la vie.

Gawdessness said...

I hope you count me as one of your friends, even if only on line, I think you put into words so well what is going on and I think that keeping hyper aware and making a call if you have to, if it comes to that is all that you can do.

Not an easy path.

Much hugs.

KittyBean said...

You post made me sad, and made me remember when we had to give back our baby. Knowing her possible life at home made it hard for us to see her. It gets better with time, for sure. Try to let social services know that if Niblet ever comes back into the system, that you want to be contacted. When our Swee'Pea was put back in foster care, we weren't told. I don't know if we would have risked losing her a second time, but I would have liked the option. Staying in touch with the parents is important for the same reason. If they are arrested (or whatever) they may be asked if Niblet has a relative or friend to go to. You'll want to be at the top of that list.

I think this kind of loss is tremendously sad for foster parents. I just let go of it at some point, although the hardest part was people not recognizing me as her parent any longer. I still had one child and people would comment on my only having one, I wanted to say, "No, I have two-had two." I didn't want to relive the pain, and with foster care you always seem to get folks saying, "Well it is for the best!" It wasn't. I knew it, and I also deeply understood my complete lack of control. It increased my fear for losing my remaining child, then I wouldn't be seen as a mother at all. My heart goes out to both of you.

Amanda said...

I am so sorry you're dealing with this. I think just being able to say it out loud (or rather write it here on your blog) may help, but I'm sure it's still incredibly difficult and frustrating.

I do hope Niblet is OK with her mom. I am thinking of both of you, and Niblet.

Tricia said...

We've been there.

Such conflict.

We loved her and yet we were trying to be supportive and happy for dad. She turned three on Nov. 17. We had her her first eight months. We still miss her and think of her as 'the one that got away'. Her father loved her very much and I am sure she is ruling the roost. It was too painful for us to continue contact..but we hear through the grapevine that she is well and loved.

Keep going.