Reunification transition. This is the part no one can prepare you for. We think a lot about what it will be like once they are reunified, talk a lot about the goal of reunification, but there’s not a lot of preparation for the reunification transition. The period of weeks and months where transition is happening at the speed of smell. There is a sense of urgency but you’re not sure why, because barely anything is happening. But we can feel it. The tiny changes that make our home feel a bit out of balance. The blankies that get sent to overnights and don’t come back, causing extreme bedtime behaviors. The every other day visits that make the other days harder and full to the brim with emotions. The mornings they are not in their beds and our home is so quiet.
Overnight visits have restarted as we press on to a goal of reunification by the end of the year. Spending the night here and there brings on a whole set of its own challenges. Making sure our bedtime routines are fluid enough that it won’t throw them if it’s different. But making sure there is enough routine that their little trauma brains can handle sleeping.
This season reminds me of the first month when we had no idea how the early parts of the case would shake out. If they would be with us for 48 hours or forever. The uncertainty is painful.
When big brother had big oversized emotions upon coming back. His sweet little mind confused and wanting to be with biological family he loves dear while also loving his home and family here. I held and rocked him, like an infant, making eye contact and reminding him that I’m here. I kept repeating this to him…
“Sweet love. I am so sorry that nothing makes sense and your emotions are big. I am sorry that it hurts to be with them and it hurts to be with us. This isn’t how it should be. But mommy loves you. Mommy loves you. Mommy loves you.”
Love on a foster family. There are so many behind the scenes emotions and thoughts. In public we give smiles and brave answers because sometimes we aren’t ready for the big deep hard conversations. So love on us. Love on our children. Pray for our families.