July 18, 2012

Students of Plan B

We smile politely and introduce ourselves. Say where we're from. Some couples are more friendly than others. A few husbands crack jokes. But overall we are a subdued group. The lady next to me barely says two words the entire night and smiles about as much.

This isn't like a normal first day of class. We aren't gathering to share a favorite hobby or learn about an interesting subject.

We're all here because somehow, somewhere, something went wrong.

Naively, I expected the others to be here for the same reasons I am: couples wanting to adopt because they were otherwise unable to have kids. I couldn't be more wrong.

There are several grandmas in the room and they are fighting for custody of their grandchildren. Several couples just want to be foster parents to children who need a safe place to stay. No adoption on the horizon, just kids who come and go as needed. Others have had children thrust upon them unexpectedly and now flounder about, trying to figure out what to do. Some have children who are already grown and out of the house. Others, like me and Jason, are still trying to build their families.

In fact, each situation is different. Our goal is the same, though: to take in children who are not ours, to provide a Plan B for them because their Plan A has fallen apart.

It's a sobering thought, taking children away from their parents. It's even more sobering when you consider what happens in a home that results in children being taken away.

I guess that's why we're subdued tonight as we learn about the system and the procedures for removal, placement, reunification, and adoption.

Foster care is nobody's Plan A. They don't call on foster parents when everything is going right.
We exist to help pick up the pieces. We may be here tonight because things go wrong in this imperfect world of ours. But we are also here to help some things go right.

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