So I realize that giving an update once a month is probably not a good idea any longer now that we have a direction in our little guy's case. For so long we were just waiting for news and now that we have some and know that he will be leaving there are actually more things to share in a shorter period of time. There is so much going through my brain and tons of things I am learning throughout this process so if I don't write it all out often enough I might just explode!:)
Here we are a few weeks after finding out Bubba will be leaving (and thinking it was going to happen within a few days!) and he is still with us. I have come to learn that I have to ALWAYS take lightly what my case worker says. When we initially got the news we were told this was going to happen very quick. We had planned a trip for our daughter to go and stay a week with my parents and two youngest siblings in California when we were informed of the case plan change. We were planning on taking Bubba with us to go and pick her up at the end of the week and then spending the weekend there before coming home. But we got the impression from the case worker that Bubba could be leaving us before then which would have meant that Ivy would be away when he leaves. Well, that didn't end up happening but thinking it was going to take place we tried to make the last few days the kids had together fun. We went to a splash pad in Fountain Hills (Bubba's first time) and both kids loved it.
The morning Ivy left for her trip I took the kids out to get donuts for breakfast. Ivy thought Bubba would like the one with pink frosting the best. He didn't know what to do with it, just kept giving it back to me:) At this point all the tears had been shed days before and it seemed that Ivy had accepted the fact that her brother was leaving. She was able to give him hugs and kisses when saying goodbye even with a smile on her face.
A few days pass and we still hadn't heard anything about Bubba's move. I was really excited to spend lots of one-on-one time with the little guy. We kept busy swimming at the pool, going to the mall to walk and play in the little kid area (which he actually didn't enjoy without Ivy being there), getting Bubba a hair cut at his favorite salon with the little yellow car chair, and lots of reading time in his room. I think I checked my e-mail about fifty times a day just waiting to hear what the next step was...
I was expecting to get an e-mail telling me when Bubba was leaving but instead I finally received one giving us the OK to take him on our little trip! It was the best news we had heard in what felt like a long time. We would get one last family get away and that was a gift. I also got some news in that e-mial saying the case was being moved to the ICWA unit (Indian Child Welfare Act, handles cases with tribe involvement) and after thirty days we would be getting a new ICWA case manger. This made me realize that it wasn't going to be as quick of a move as we had been expecting. So with that new information we left for California to see our girl and enjoy time with family.
We took half a day with the kids and my brother Haddon to enjoy La Jolla. We spent some time lounging on the big grassy field, walking around the shore, eating at the delicious Cody's restaurant, and letting Ivy take a swim in the ocean.
It was a really nice time away with my family and now here we are back at home and just waiting. If the timeline I've been given for ICWA to get involved actually takes place we should be getting our new case worker around August 22nd. I don't know how quickly we will be contacted by them but at this point I am going to assume things won't go super fast. I would like to think because the case is now set to reunification with Bubba's biological mother that ICWA will probably do what they can to get the kids back to her ASAP, but really I can't be certain. Usually things tend to drag out with this unit because they are searching for a Native American placement for the kids and that can just take time (so I have been told from other foster families). But because there is a goal in mind in our case it wouldn't make sense for it to take so long. This is what I hope to find out from the new case worker once we hear from them. But at this point I am trying not to assume too much and just have to live with the reality that you really don't know anything until the moment it happens.
So it looks like we will fall into our little routine this next month as Ivy starts Kindergarden and a little bit of normalcy begins to take place as we wait out the next step. Like I have said before, being in a state of limbo is the hardest thing about being a foster parent and I've come to find out that is pretty much the way it is all throughout. You don't know what is going to happen, you get some news, things change, you are left waiting to hear what is next, and on and on it goes. It's a crazy cycle but you can't let it make you go crazy. There have been moments when I feel myself starting to panic, I get angry, I get tired, I get fed up. But I realize that it is in these moments of despair that you grow if you let yourself. You learn to let go and trust that there is someone who actually has this whole situation under control. If I didn't believe that God's got this in his hands I think I would have gone mad by now. When you have to trust Him and you let yourself do it you change, and you have peace. And it's every day that you have to remind yourself that He is still there working it out. I've been getting up before the kids lately to get in some quality alone time. I walk, spend time doing my You Version devotional plan, and read up on individuals who have been dealing with grief and loss who I have felt a connection to. Keeping my body, soul, and mind in a healthy place has helped me to cope with all these unknowns. There is so much that I could be freaking out about but instead I am choosing to not do that and I have to ask God to help me to not do that every day.
And here is a little update on Bubba. He is pretty much walking, he can take a good four to five steps without a fall. His favorite food are bananas (calls them nanana) and his favorite book is "No No Noah", a story about a monkey who is scared to get onto the ark (he calls it nonono). He is getting his "N" sound down. He can roar like a lion and bark like a dog when we ask him to. We are teaching him to be gentle because the hitting stage has begun and it's usually poor Ivy who gets the worst of it since she hasn't learned to respect his personal space too well:) He is definitely more aware of things and has started to cry when he leaves for visits. I think the longer this reunification drags out the harder it will be for him. We know and can begin to prepare for it but he has no clue and is so attached to our family at this point. But kids are resilient and we will pray that when it does happen it will go as smooth as possible for the little guy.