Each of our foster care cases have been different, but they have all had one thing in common. I've been involved with their visits with their family. It has been interesting, and a very good experience, being able to meet with my foster children's parents.
Ben: I don't remember how or when I met Ben's dad for the first time. In his case, it was his dad that was working to get him back. We also had visits with 2 of his older siblings. I met Ben's dad at our first visit. Most of the time our visits were at DCFS in the lobby and our caseworker was usually late. So there were a lot of times that it was just Ben, his dad and I. We always got along, I filled him in on what Ben was doing. He shared details about what Ben liked and what he was like while he had him. He brought Ben a bunch of clothes and a few toys from home. His dad was there with me when our caseworker told me that Ben would be going to his 1/2 sister. Ben's dad told me that he didn't know how I could do it, how I could take such good care of Ben, love him and then be able to let him go. We also enjoyed visits with 2 of Ben's siblings. I was fun to let the kids play as the foster parents got to know each other better. Just before Ben left I was in contact with his 1/2 sister that he was going to him. At the time it was still foster care, but they did end up terminating parental rights and she adopted him. It was a great experience and I love how she handled everything! We had multiple phone calls as she tried to get ready for his arrival. They lived 2 states away so it was hard for her to get ready and no be able to be around him. She got lots of good info from me so she would be ready for him. What was his schedule like? What did he like to eat? What size clothes was he in? What size diapers? And other questions like that. When it came time for her and her husband to get Ben we met at my parents house because it was half way between them and us. I wrote a whole page of info for her on Ben, it's been so long I don't remember what exactly I said. I gave her a CD of all of pictures I took him while he was in our care. Before they left she hugged us and thanked us for taking such good care of him and promised to keep in touch, which she did for a few months.
Isaac and Madison: Again, it was a few years ago, so I don't remember the first time I met with their mom. Because I got them from another foster home, Isaac's former foster mom warned me that their mom was a witch! I was really not so sure about meeting her, but I still did. I don't know what it was, but she was nothing but kind to me! Our Family Support Center was in charge of most of the visits between the kids and their mom. We did have one visit where it was just her and I and the kids, our caseworker told us a certain day but she thought she said a different day, so it was just us until she got there. When it came time for them it leave it was the opposite of when Ben left. I never heard anything from their aunt in prepreation for their arrival. I'm not saying it was a bad thing, just differernt from Ben's departure. I also sent a CD of all the pictures I had taken of them with them.
I've just never had any problems with interacting with my foster children's birth families. So far, I've never had a negative experience with them. However, Ben's birth mom did try to kidnap his sister. They both lived in a very small town and the birth mom asked someone where her daughter was and they told her! So it's not a very common occurrence at all!
With both Ben and Isaac & Madison we were 1 of 3 foster families our caseworker was dealing with in that case. I don't know if it was our caseworker or the fact that we just had the youngest children in the family, but we never knew what was going on in the case. The other foster parents always knew exactly what was going on in the case and with the children's parents, but not us. With Emma it was totally different. I'm not sure if it was because she was the only child in the case or our caseworker was so much better, but we always knew what was going on and were invited to team meetings.
So with Emma it was very nice to be so involoved and know everything that was going on. It also helps that 1) We had a great caseworker and 2) We had the only child in the case.