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The judge granted permission to transfer the children to our home after a lengthy delay. We knew the children were not in a healthy atmosphere at their current foster home (the state closed that license as soon as the children left), and the whole team had been anxious to get them out. When the social worker told us that he couldn't transfer the children for a minimum of 5 more days we were discouraged; however, he told us we could pick the children up ourselves at our own convenience.
I didn't want to do this, knowing it would be an emotionally devastating experience, but I didn't want to leave the children where they were.
We made arrangements to pick them up on Saturday evening--a day that wouldn't disrupt their school/daycare schedules and allowed for extended family and friends in their current placement to say their goodbyes.
We arrived in our 15-passenger van, our whole family. We piled out, met the people who had loved and cared for the children (in their own confused way) for the past 2+ years, and then experienced every ounce of emotional trauma I had feared. Without going into detail, it was devastating for all involved.
However, eventually we were able to pull away and head home with our newly expanded family and start settling in.
As we've settled, though, a thought has been forming . . . we were the children's kidnappers.
We came to their house, took them unwillingly away from their home, and have kept them ever since.
One day I voiced this concern to Ladybug's therapist. She hesitated, not wanting to hurt my feelings, then she carefully said, "Unfortunately, because the transfer was not made by the social worker, you probably do have that stigma. Had the Children's Division informed me about the transfer plans, I would have recommended that the social worker should effect the transfer, but we can't go back. All we can do is move forward to the best of our abilities."
Since then I've had confirmation of this concern by other therapeutic members of the team.
We are our own children's kidnappers.
It doesn't matter that what we did was perfectly legal and at the state's recommendation. The children are far too little to understand laws and rules and judgements. All they know is that they miss their other mama, their other home, their other life . . .
even if it was a dangerous and scary place to live.
So the first lesson is this: Always leave transfers to the social worker.