I felt like such a goon for getting teary during our team meeting. Afterward I called and apologized to the caseworker. I was embarrassed. I apologized if it was awkward and told her I felt bad for being unprofessional. I don't remember what she said but essentially it was fine and no big deal. I don't think they expect a DCFS worker level of composure and professionalism from me but for the most part that's what I expect from myself.
I didn't regret what I said because it was all entirely true and it was important to us that they know it, but I did wish I hadn't felt like a loon for the way I cried while saying it. After the serious, matter-of-fact way everyone else in the room had asked questions and spoken their piece I felt a bit out of place with my display of emotion.
Anyway, it's one of those events where you feel SUPER awkward about something you did when really no one but you thought it was awkward or embarrassing.
So onward we went. This team meeting was in November. In December we were approved to take our foster son with us out of state for TWO WEEKS over Christmas! That's two whole weeks of no visits, no appointments, no anything DCFS related. It was two weeks of feeling like we were a family, just us. It was fantastic and hard in its own way.
I had to keep reminding myself, "he isn't yours, he isn't yours, he isn't yours," but the circumstances in his case at that point, paired with our being out of town together made that mantra difficult to internalize.
It was so good to be with family and they loved our little guy. Toward the end of our visit one of our nephews finally understood what being a foster child meant as far as Bonus Kiddo staying. The whole time he had been thinking Bonus Kiddo was permanent, part of the "C" family and he didn't like learning that he had parents who weren't us and he may not see Bonus Kiddo again.
Fast forward to the end of January. We again had our regular, every 90 days, court hearing. This is a review hearing for the judge to go over whats been going on, DCFS to petition for any changes to "the plan", and to make any necessary adjustments.
DCFS was going into this hearing with several requests for the judge. Before going in to court Daniel and I are always given a copy of the court report which is a summary of who's involved and the content of the hearing. We were able to read all of DCFS's petition beforehand. One set of requests we all (us and the caseworker) knew were a long shot. Those changes had a slim chance of being implemented. The second set however were not just reasonable, we were going to be surprised if the judge declined them and couldn't think of any reason why he would.
In to court we went.
Out of court we came.
I looked at the caseworker somewhat stunned and asked, "so what now?" She looked at me slightly wide eyed and exasperated, "honestly, I don't know."
The judge had denied all petitions by DCFS. Every. single. one.
What that meant was that everything would continue exactly as it had until the next review hearing set for the end of April. For our family that meant we knew Bonus Kiddo would be with us until at least then.
What none of us knew was that we'd be right back in that same court room a few weeks later for an emergency hearing.