Days and weeks passed without an answer which felt like an eternity as we waited to hear if the home study for the biological relative “passed”. We knew from past experiences that the process of a home study approval could go either very quickly or it could last months.
Since we knew her leaving us was an almost done deal, I reached out to CPS and my placement agency to see if we could meet Amanda’s biological family member, her Aunt Samantha. I talked about this with my husband and our biological children and we decided as a family that this would be the best thing for us to do since Amanda wasn’t familiar with her aunt. I wanted to avoid a very emotional departure of Amanda and envisioned her going calmly and somewhat happily when the time came.
Before I knew it, CPS and Samantha were at my door together, to visit with us and Amanda at our home. As I anxiously walked towards my front door, I thought to myself, there is no turning back now. The secrecy I have always tried to cover my family and myself in was now completely vulnerable. I was very anxious to meet her not knowing how she perceived me, my family and how we were caring for Amanda while she had been in our care. Samantha and her husband stayed with us for almost three hours for our first visit! They were able to see Amanda in her environment, talk to us about her likes and dislikes, see her have her first tantrum and all of the great things that go along with a toddler! During our first visit, they were taking notes and asking lots of great questions as first time “parents to be” of a toddler.
Our visit went well and we agreed to let them return to our home and see Amanda after work and on the weekends leading up to her departure.
As the weeks progressed, our visits increased with each other. Samantha and I exchanged our cell numbers and we agreed to email and text each other.
Our family and friends had very mixed opinions of our decision to open our family and home to Amanda’s biological family who were strangers to us. In the end, I tell them it’s not about us, it’s about Amanda. Whatever we need to do as a family to help her transition smoother no matter how uncomfortable I am, it’s worth it.
Christy Benson is the director of Clinical Informatics Analysis & Measurement for Texas Health Resources, Mom to two boys, and Foster Mom.