Court is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. The pediatrician told me today that the judge we have is known to be reasonable, but we still have no idea if that means there's any likelihood this child will stay with us.
We both feel conflicted about how much we'd love to keep this child. She has grown and learned so much in the five weeks we've had her, and we have fallen so hard for her. On the other hand, we really do believe that children belong with their families of origin if that's practical and safe. This has been hard for people around me to understand, so here's the example I give: if my perfect little goddaughter somehow ended up in foster care in Maryland, I would insist that she belonged with us. Even if her foster parents were the richest family in Baltimore and gave her a pony and had already arranged a French tutor for her seven-month-old self, I would still insist that her rightful place would be with me and Andy. The life her foster family could provide wouldn't be more compelling than blood. (I always start out this hypothetical story with "heaven forbid" or equivalent, to cancel out any bad juju it's sending into the universe.) So our foster baby also deserves to be with family, because that's her rightful place, as long as that family can care for her adequately and keep her safe.
At our visit with the pediatrician this morning we learned that in the last five weeks the baby has gained just over a pound and a half and has grown three-quarters of an inch. She's filling out, and has a little belly now and everything. It's awesome.
I found myself wishing last night that religion had anything to do with our entrance into foster care. I don't feel like we were "called" to do this by a higher being; our reasons were the faces of the specific children I knew who were let down by the system and who needed somewhere safe and were denied it. I am envious of the foster parents who can lean on their faith and feel confident that God has a plan for their foster kid, because I keep returning to the fact that this baby's future is in the hands of a judge who, like, might be having a bad day.
I've already done the majority of the baby's laundry, and I'm going to pack up her clothes and stuff tonight. Then I am going to hold this baby so tight until I fall asleep, and then I'm going to go to court in the morning and see what happens.
Do me a solid and leave me a link to something I can check out while I'm waiting at court tomorrow. It's going to be a long day.