It’s been quite the last few years! I’ve wanted kids for so long. I’ve been pricked and prodded both physically and emotionally through those years of trying to get pregnant and then, unraveled every layer of my life to be approved as a foster parent. Finally I am a parent and I am loving it! You’ve been with me for the ride and the drive has been so much smoother lately. There have not been as many bumps where I’ve needed to write, vent and get your opinion. There have been more ups than downs. I’ve still had some questions, but I am learning to navigate parenthood with all the love and trust in myself that you have given me over the years. So why am I back here blogging away? What happened?
A meeting… A meeting that was scheduled with our son’s social worker but with unexpected news. It happened soon after celebrating one year with our munchkin. We meet with his social worker every two weeks and ours, every two months. It’s part of the deal. These calls/meetings/house visits are often just a formality and this one started as one. However, we were moments away from the type of news that turns your world upside down…
“The biological parents are pregnant again. A baby boy. The parents expressed that if he were to be placed, they would like for this child to be with you. We also strongly encourage sibling placements. Would this be something you would consider?”
I’ve always wanted multiple children, but Alex had mentioned that the only way we would consider another child is if it were a biological sibling close in age. I had therefore comfortably accepted that we would be a family of three. I came to love our little bubble of three. We worked. It has become seamless. Easy. Fun! This new information could potentially wreck that.
“How long before he is born?”, we asked… We got the answer when the child entered this world on a beautiful Saturday morning 2 weeks later…
What now? To say that that meeting has led to many days of soul searching would be an understatement. It’s been months of uneasy discussions, hope, despair, excitement, frustration, happiness and everything in between… A court ruled for the child to be placed and now, we have to decide.
How could we say ‘no’ to our munchkin’s sibling? How would I explain to him that his 100% biological sibling doesn’t live with us? How would I live with the guilt if that child did not grow up in a loving family? How would this impact our relationship, but also how would this impact him and their future relationship? At the same time, we are also wondering how saying “yes” to this baby could impact him, as well as impact our unit, our relationship and my partnership with Alex?
So many questions… and so many more!
Are we patient enough? Do we have enough love? Are we financially able? Do we have the space? Do we have the support of those close to us? Does this mean that we will have double the amount of paperwork, double the obstacles, double the bureaucratic frustration and deceptions? There is so much beauty in long-term fostering, but there is also so much red-tape. So many visits from social workers. So many hiccups…
For example, I am at my third attempt – in less than a year – at getting munchkin a passport. Last time, the Service Canada agent said that my paperwork would not be accepted, since he had never seen the type of paper I had from the Department of Youth Protection giving me signing rights. He kept asking the whereabouts of the biological mother or if I had court rulings as proof of parentage. I responded that I am not allowed to have those court rulings due to confidentiality issues, but that their website specified that my paper was sufficient. He “didn’t know” and told me to try again at the main Montreal service point… I had waited 3 months for that appointment and now I would have to wait many more. There is also that time where Alex went for munchkin’s second covid shot and he was turned away. Even if we had the biological parents’ permission for the first round of the vaccine, they could have changed their mind, so we needed another permission form for the booster.
We get that these examples are not anything that are urgent to the well-being of the child. That social workers are overworked and do their best to accommodate our requests. However, you are raising a child, trying to give them as normal as a life as they can have and yet, formalities throw it back in your face that you are not truly the parent. It stings. We signed up for it though… It’s all part of taking in a child from the Banques Mixtes program. We get that. We are ok with it. However, two kids… will that mean double the emotional rollercoaster?
“But wait a minute, isn’t he yours? Didn’t you go to court?”
We are often asked that question and yes, we did. We received a judgement for a majority placement, which means that he is to stay with us, in our house, until he turns 18 years of age. We did not get any parental attributes though, because the biological parents are easily reached and cooperative. We are actually both lucky (we do not have horror stories like many others may) and unlucky in that way (we have to keep jumping through those hoops). We love that the bio parents are in the picture and hopefully will be there to answer any question munchkin may have growing up, but it is hard to have someone who sees this child three hours a month hold so much power over formalities. Do we want to double up all that?
Is taking this second child the right decision for us?
Benjamin Franklin said: “Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight” – a quote that the weather anchor in me likes! He is right. Why worry? The love, joy and fulfillment of being munchkin’s parent is a million times greater than the hurt and ego slaps caused by those hiccups!! I am convinced it will be the same for number two… It also mean that we get to double up on kisses and laughs! Now that’s sweet! Furthermore, we finally did get the passport approved this week AND got his booster yesterday! Yes – adding baby number two to the mix is scary, but to quote another great man: “Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway” ~John Wayne
HeeHaw! That is how three will soon turn into four…
TO BE CONTINUED…