In our experience, all bets are off on court days because there’s no way to know just how long you’ll be there or what the outcomes will be.
There are days where we’ve arranged the child care, packed the snacks, and had time to drink our coffee in preparation for a long day at court, but end up being in and out within an hour. These kind of court days usually mean that there is no movement in our foster child’s case.
My favorite court days are when my husband works from home to be with the kids because I can fully focus on our foster child’s biological family. Getting to connect with our foster child’s parents and family members without the kids running around at our feet is rare and really special. I love to listen to grandma share stories about when our foster son’s mom was little. I love to listen to mom and dad share their wins. They are so excited to share their wins. Dad signed up for an extra parenting class. Mom finished her first rehab program. I love that grandpa leaned in and whispered to me what he really thinks of the new social worker. The book I brought for the wait is not going come out of my bag and I’m ok with that because I love listening to and learning about these people in front of me. On these days it doesn’t really matter what happens in the court room.
Then there’s the trial. The trial is grueling. I remember holding back tears as I tapped as many notes as I could into my phone. I remember the way my face grew hot as the different players laid out the details of what our foster children had been through, what their parents had done, and what the county was currently doing. I remember thinking that there was no way I could ever look our foster children’s parents in the eyes again. But then it was over and as mom turned around we locked eyes. My heart instantaneously flooded with love and compassion for her. We both knew that what happened in the court room that day was going to change both of our lives forever.
Court hearings can be taxing but they also present such a unique opportunity to get to learn from and learn about the people that you are walking out this foster care journey with. And I’d encourage you to take that opportunity.