Overcoming Obstacles to Family Reunification
My very first case with Adoption Option Inc. was in August 2020 working with parents of two young children both under age 2. In my first meeting with them dad expressed his distrust and frustration with “the system” and truly believed that neither he nor mom had done anything wrong as parents and did not deserve all that had been happening to them. He also believed that “the State and the Foster Mother want my children!”
Before meeting this couple, I had heard some negative things about the father; I chose to keep an open mind and just do my job as best I could. After a few visits I realized that due to past encounters with different workers this couple had serious trust issues. I explained that to the best of my ability I would always be honest with them and do my best to help them.
I serve as their Supportive Visitation Worker for 4 months through our Parents and Children Together (PACT) program. In that time, I saw the bond grow between the parents and their infant and toddler grow. I saw the parents fight for the right to parent their children and maintain visits even when one of the children had head lice. They did it with respect and logic.
Sometimes they would get so frustrated because things did not go as fast as they wanted and I would say; It’s a process, we just need to get through the process. I allowed Nick to vent his fears, frustrations and concerns. I validated his feelings and then he would take a deep breath re-center and continue “parenting” his children.
By Halloween 2020, the parents were getting partial unsupervised visits. On Thanksgiving they had a totally unsupervised visits and by the middle of December my services were no longer required and their case was terminated. In February 2021 just before the oldest child’s second birthday the children returned and the family was reunified.
The parents told me that it was due to my involvement in their case that unsupervised/overnights were happening. That they felt nobody listened until I was their visitation worker. I was their “sounding board” cheerleader and encourager.
I’m just a small part of the process. I feel honored to have been a part of the process, no matter how small a part, that helped this young family reunify.