Monday- I find out the Baby 2 &3's brother was born, removed, and placed with another foster family. They are a lovely new family (first placement), who I trained in MAPP, who opened for strictly healthy newborns. They told me about the situation without knowing I had been waiting for or wanted this baby. I did not tell them anything. They were so excited about their baby.
I text 2&3's Dad to let him know the baby was not placed with us, but we are willing to have him if Mom wants to ask for us.
I also emailed our caseworker to tell her about the situation, but I purposely did not ask for the baby to be moved to us. I wanted to see what the county would say about it on their own.
Tuesday- Our caseworker emails me back. No one knows why we weren't called, but they'll look into it.
2, 3, and new baby's Mom skipped court and her first visit with new baby.
Wednesday- Court for Baby 9. The county took a strong stand for reunification to happen this year. I was completely thrown off kilter by the haste in our new plan. There are still so many things that need to happen to keep the plan on track, but the tone that was set in court gave me the heads up to start preparing to say goodbye.
In the court lobby, I see the new baby's caseworker. She tells me that she has baby's case and knows about my connection to the family. She was shocked when I told her we were waiting for new baby's placement, but didn't get called. She said the county should "fix it" right away, but did not offer to help facilitate or advocate that at all.
Baby 2&3's Dad calls me while I'm in the lobby. He's thinking new baby is going to need to be adopted. It seems both parents are unwilling to cooperate with CPS. He asks me if we are still available, and says he is going to talk to the Mom about asking for the move.
I called another caseworker as I was leaving court to ask for a reality check. Should I drop this, or wait for baby to be moved to us? She felt like it was in the best interest of new baby to be placed with us so we can build bio-connections with 2&3. She was going to make sure everyone who matters was aware of what's going on. She called me back about an hour later to let me know they were going to have a big meeting about it. She said the matcher who placed the baby feels absolutely terrible about the mix up. It was series of unfortunate mishaps when new baby needed a home that caused all the confusion. But here's the thing- it doesn't seem like there was confusion when the foster family knew about my relation to new baby. Someone told them and it wasn't me or the bio family.
Later, I get an email from my caseworker saying the decision has been passed higher up from her supervisor to the administrator.
Thursday- I get call from Baby 2 &3's Dad. He was served with court papers for new baby because he is legally married to Mom, even though he is not new baby's Dad. He wanted some phone numbers so he could figure out what his role in all this will be. He reiterates that he would prefer the baby come to us, and Mom would like that too.
Friday- I call the county to tell them we will not be part of new baby being moved after today. He's been with the foster family for a week, and they are all bonded and cuddly. It's not in his best interest to move him now. My caseworker said the administrator had said no move anyway unless it was ordered by the judge. She said she was just about to email me when I called.
Even though I was on the fence about adding to our brood, I grieved for this baby that' not mine. I cried for the brother I could have given my boys. My boys that don't live with me either. So this new family- who I believe was never even told that any of this happened- will have a quick abandonment case followed by the adoption of their really cute baby who is the carbon copy of Baby 3. Mom will have no contact with them or the baby- just like she did with 2&3. I know "fair" is not even a thing in foster care. There is no "fair" in any story where a child needs foster care. Putting the last 4 years into this family and loving them so hard it often left me bruised, just to have these doe eyed fosterlings that I trained swoop in and get to fall in love with new baby seems like a special kind of injustice, though. I'd be lying if I said I was hurt or angry. I'll try not to think about it, and get less bitter over time. I did have to unfollow them on social media so their happy family pictures weren't all over my phone anymore.
On the flip side, I can't imagine living in the very small circle of foster families in our area knowing I took someone else's placement. They would have been crushed, and I would have felt horrible.
Just knowing it's all over and what happened, happened, gives a bit of relief from last week.