Foster care and adoption can be a windy road for sure. You give your whole self to a child for a short or long period of time, and if you do it right, you get attached. Chances are you may go to some court cases, have visits, and stalk the bio family on Facebook to get an idea for what type of person they are, the types of people they hang out with, and their "likes" so that you get a sense for who they are as a human being.
Whether you are in this strictly for foster care, or for the long haul, it's never easy when the child leaves. Especially if it doesn't sit right. What do I mean?
Let's say you go to some court hearings, hear the bio parent(s) out and don't feel like they have met their requirements to get the child back. The judge orders the child(ren) to go back and you are upset.
Maybe you have visits with the bio family that are supervised or unsupervised and you feel like through your conversations that history may repeat itself, but when it is all said and done, the court system has the child(ren) go back to the bio family.
Again, you feel gutted. Lost. Like you have lost all control.
Maybe nothing is wrong with the bio family and you are just upset that the child has been taken away. The possibilities are endless.
The question remains - how do you come to terms with these situation when you, indeed, do not have any control?
Grieve. Listen, I don't care if you are strictly foster care, or if you are adopting...loss is loss. If you don't feel any sort of way when a child leaves or gets reunited with a bio family member, my not-so-humble opinion is that you aren't doing something right. That doesn't mean you sob, but it means you lament over the child leaving. It's OK to grieve. Yes, cry. Yell. Exercise like a maniac to get the emotion out. Whatever you need to do (that is safe and not a crutch), do it. Mourning and grieving is part of the process.
Come to Terms That Reunification is the End Goal. Yes, this is extremely difficult to come to terms with. I get that. But if we have this perspective in mind, we are not "surprised" if the bio parents do a 180 and get their life together. It won't be a "where the crap did that come from" when an aunt or uncle comes out of the woodwork to have parental rights over the child. Again, it doesn't make the transition seamless, but having the right mindset going in hinders us from expectations that may not be met.
Understand the System is Flawed. If there is anything I think we can all agree on, it is that the system is flawed. Sometimes it seems as though judges, lawyers, etc. get a "bonus" of sorts if the child is reunited with their family even though it is not the right or legal circumstance. There's no other way to say it, except it sucks. I've had instances where a GAL said she loved us, but when it came to court, she did not recommend us to the court system as a viable option to adopt our now boys. Luckily, in this case - something extreme enough happened to where her suggestion was over-ruled. That's not the case in all situations. This also doesn't mean we don't fight and stay on the bench. We can control what we can control. Ask to be on the witness stand if you are comfortable (but remember to keep your cool). Testify to how much the child has grown since being a part of your family. But always keep in the back of your mind that the system is flawed.
Sometimes It Is Not Going to Make Sense. If you are like me, you are a black and white person. A + B = C. Sometimes the decision the judge makes is not going to make sense. This happens probably more often than not. The question is, what are you going to do about it? While it is hard as you know what to let go, sometimes you must without any answers or explanation. That is where this group comes in to play. This is where you take time to grieve and mourn and pray. Then when, and only when, you are ready to do it all over again (potentially with a different outcome) you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and love that child(ren) with every freaking fiber of your being.
As I write, I understand that this is not easy...at all. It's really hard. Unfortunately, until real accountability happens, this is the way it will be. Control what you can control. Love your child(ren) with all of your heart. That's what you can control.