Today I went to a foster parent training and it was an emotional day. I ran into some relatives of our little guy who have requested custody of him. That was a little awkward. I was able to find someone else to sit near, so that helped.
A couple minutes into the presentation, my first foster son's parents came in and sat DIRECTLY in front of me! The bottom fell out of my stomach. On the break, I cautiously approached them (we had met four years ago) and asked them if they received the birthday cards I sent each year, and if it was okay to send them. They said they did and that it was. In fact, they said that the picture I had sent last year was in his bedroom hanging on his wall. They also told me that he still fills up his quarter poster that we had bought him for his birthday and that he still asks once in awhile to watch the video we made him of the year he spent with us. They said he plays football, baseball, AND soccer. They said he is a perfectionist (though they noted that he is still sloppy). Unfortunately, he is still not adopted. Although he has lived with them for five years now, they have not yet had the parents' rights terminated. I guess one of the parents had written a letter giving up rights, but the agency had filed this paper away and it was only discovered a year and a half later when there was a new worker on the case. By that time, the parent had changed their mind and now says they want to do whatever they can to get him back. The nerve! Needless to say, I'm glad we've not had to go through that with him. He will be 14 in November, and will have more say in this type of thing. For now, they just have to wait and hope. Meanwhile, the family has been able to take in and adopt three more children. And he has had to see that happen, and not be able to experience it himself. I will celebrate with them when they get to officially accept him as a member of their family. At the end of the day, they asked if I had email and they took my email address to give him. They couldn't remember his by heart, but gave me theirs and said that I could feel free to email them at any time. I will definitely do that, but I won't pounce. We all need breathing room.
I did have a chance to talk to my ex-husband this afternoon and relay the updated information to him from today. I figured he would be interested since he was his foster parent for over a year, too. He just happened to be working outside this afternoon as I drove by his restaurant, so I stopped in and quickly gave him the update. He seemed to be greatful, which I was happy about. It helped me not feel foolish.
I'm not sure many people could possibly understand the full extent of validation this encounter made me feel. I am SO glad my first foster son ended up with this family. They are good people and I know they support him wholeheartedly.
Do you know a foster parent? ARE you a foster parent? I'd love to hear your story. Feel free to post a comment :)