27 January 2015

Foster Care: Our First Bonus Kiddo

I answered the phone and from the other end came the jovial voice of a man who introduced himself as one of our area's RFCs. He wanted to get to know a little bit more about our family, why we were in foster care, the kinds of placements we were open to, things like that.

"Oh, okay," I thought. "This is so the team can get to know us better and see where we can best help."

We talked for a bit and I told him what Daniel and I had said to each other over and over again, "We're here to help kids and to put families back together. If we get to adopt from foster care then great, we'd love that, but if all we ever do is foster then that's great too. We want to be used where we can be the most help." I told him our story, our experience, and all about Noah.

After 5-10 minutes of our "get to know you" conversation he said, "Well, I'm actually calling you because your name came up (don't worry, in a good way!). I've got a little boy I'm looking for a family for. I've talked with a few other families who are getting back to me but I just feel really good about you guys."

All of a sudden our conversation shifted. This wasn't a general "get to know you" call, he was gathering information for a specific little boy.

He started to tell me everything he knew about the case, which was very (very) little. They didn't know if the case would likely go to reunification, or adoption. At this point it could easily go either way and they were looking for a family who could commit to both simultaneously. That was us exactly.

He said it was a three month old who was currently in the hospital. "Three MONTH old in the hospital?" I thought to myself. I asked the RFC if the baby was in the NICU, or in PEDs. He didn't know. The reason I asked was that if the baby was in the NICU that meant he'd never left the hospital and was either born very premature or had some kind of significant health issue to still be there at three months old. If he was in Peds that meant he had been discharged from the hospital and come back for some reason.

I was on board immediately, but I was trying to gather as much information as possible before calling Daniel to see how he felt about it.

"Do you know which hospital he's in?" I asked, so I could determine how much travel would be involved. I knew it was most likely one of 3 area hospitals.
"I don't..."

We talked a little bit longer, he gave me every sliver of information he had on the case and I let him know I'd call back quickly. I called Daniel.

I told Daniel we'd been called by the crisis RFC about a three month old little boy who was in the hospital. He asked the same questions I did, "NICU, or Peds?" Can you tell we're familiar with children's health issues? :) "Which hospital?" We were very familiar with the hospital closest to our home. I made clear this was ALL the information I had...

"Three month old boy. No significant health issues. In the hospital. They have no idea if it'll go toward reunification or adoption." That was it. That's all we knew. Daniel felt good about it too and I hung up to call the RFC back.

"We're in."

He said he'd call the caseworker right away and they'd call me. Ten minutes later I was on the phone with our first "bonus kiddo's" caseworker.

She gave me a lot more information. It turned out not only was he in the NICU, he was in "our" NICU, the NICU we brought both Aurelia AND Noah home from. And he wasn't three months old, he was ALMOST three WEEKS old. That made a lot more sense. :)

"When can you meet me at the hospital?" she asked.
"I need to get a sitter, get a few things together and then I can head over." I did some math in my head on getting Aurelia out the door, drive time, park time, walking into the lobby. "In about an hour?"
"How about an hour and a half?"
"Great! See you then!"

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