My husband and I were constantly told how hard this would be. We knew it would be, but we had NO IDEA IT WOULD BE LIKE THIS! It is something you can absolutely never prepare for. If I had a dollar for every break down we have had when we have a moment of realizing this, I’d have a lot of dollars.
We are not a “regular” foster home; we are a legal-risk home. To sum up what that means, we are the home that children go to that will more than likely be adopted, yet they are still in the system. In my mind, I see that as a 90% chance the children will forever remain with us, and we risk the rest. We knew that from the beginning, but things change once you fall in love with a child.
For example, let’s say a beautiful baby girl came straight from the hospital to live with you. You are now her dad/mom. You are the one who clothes her, feeds her, bathes her, and most importantly, loves her. When strangers come up to you in the grocery store to congratulate you on your baby, you thank them as if your body created her. When your parents come to visit, they are Mawmaw and Pawpaw; your family is now her family. Her beautiful face is on your Christmas cards, the background on your cellphone, and the last thing you see when you close your eyes at night. When your caseworker calls, you are now called mommy/daddy instead of your legal name. This child is in every single detail on your life. However, you never forget that it is not official, and this will haunt you.
Anything could happen and she could be ripped from your arms. This is the risk you take when you are a legal-risk home. If a family member randomly pops up after 10 months, a judge could very well move your child to them. It’s not that cut and dry, but it is a real possibility.
The only thing that gets me through every day is my faith: faith in God, faith in the system, and faith in knowing she will share my last name someday.