True to her word, the social worker came at 5:00 ready to take the kids. Jessica had spent the day washing and folding their clothes, packing them up in totes, and preparing for their departure. When she arrived, she explained to us a bit more about the process, the grandmother, the plan set in place and the “transfer” procedure which will occur next week. The family has requested that we attend the transfer meeting. This is when everything is made official and a judge puts his or her stamp of approval on the plan.
Their case worker laid out a rather rigorous plan that they need to follow in order for them to retain custody of the children. The kids need to get the therapies they need. The mother needs to hold down a job, as well as get therapy and she and the father are not allowed to have contact with each other. The dad will get visitation with the kids, but with restrictions. If any of these rules are not followed, the children will be taken into custody. We are hopeful that this does not happen, but we also know the odds in cases like this are not in the favor of it working that way.
Because of the unusual circumstances of us taking the kids in, the whole office seems to have taken a special interest in this case. She mentioned several times the fact that we have become quite the talk and that they wish more people (even if one in a hundred) would take it upon themselves to help others in need. That they’d be out of a job if that happened. It’s nice to know that they think so highly of our actions, but I like to think that humanity is not so far gone that given the option, many others would do the same (or more). We’re fortunate that the circumstances were just right enough to do it. Despite being crowded, we DID have room. Despite it being a bit of a financial hit, we DID have support. Despite it being tiring, we DID get enough sleep that we didn’t go insane. It wasn’t perfect but it *was* good enough.
‘T’ was excited to be going to her grandma’s while ‘L’ cried when she left and ‘K’, I think, was pretty unaware of exactly what was going on. We gave them hugs, they loaded up, rolled down the windows and we exchanged “I Love You’s” as they drove off.
It was bitter sweet because we know that while we did the right thing, we’re going to miss them. And we know that they’re still going to be in a state of limbo for the foreseeable future. But the steps were necessary to progress and we also can rest easily knowing that this will give them the best chance to break the cycle in which they’ve been a part.
I’ll probably, in the next few days, write a more in-depth reflection of the experience, but I do know that if tomorrow morning I was to be walking Barcelona and find a homeless family, I’d do exactly the same thing (with maybe a few “adjustments”).