By Sometimes Mom
Recently, I went to the mall in search of a very specific peach-colored romper but as I passed through Target, I was suddenly overcome with the fear that I would run into my former foster children. While many foster parents probably have this fear and some have even experienced it, I still have not figured out how to handle this hypothetical.
Though we parted on good terms, their mom did not wish to continue contact with us after reunification. This was a decision that still stings but one which I had to accept. I have not seen them since that last day and I thought maybe, in time, she would change her mind. If she ever does, she knows how to reach me but so far, she has not.
In the past when I would take our foster children to Target, or the grocery store or a restaurant, I worried about the prospect of running into their parents. One child missed her mom so much she would always tell me she saw her out in public even though it was never true.
But now that the roles are reversed, would a chance meeting in Target be a welcomed coincidence? I don’t know. Would the children be happy to see me or even acknowledge me at all? I’d be nervous to find out.
And if the children ever did need to come back into foster care, the process of once again being removed from their families, would leave them even more damaged, more scarred than before. Selfishly, I miss them more than anything but of course I don’t want that for them. Even if it means never seeing them again.
I was once scared of losing them, but now I’m more scared of seeing them at all.
It’s a classic foster parent paradox: losing them just about kills us but sometimes, we hope we never have to see them again.