“We want what’s best for this little boy which is reunification with his family,” Chris said, “but he is a part of our life, it will be hard.”
Chris, and his husband Nick, are currently fostering a young boy in the Chicagoland area, and their complicated feelings reveal a common challenge for foster parents: how to truly love and care for a child that you consider your own, never knowing when your last day with them will be.
Chris and Nick have worked hard to maintain a relationship between their foster son and his biological family. Ironically, COVID-19 and the subsequent reliance on zoom communications has made it easier for the biological family to continue to be involved and form a relationship with the boy.
The pair has been fostering the little boy since he was a baby and is part of their life, a part of their family. Case proceedings are lengthy and take time, and Covid-19 restrictions have made that process even longer.
“We are worried he will grow up with us and not want to leave.” Chris explained, “The courts have been really slow, and it will affect this child.”
COVID limitations have restricted the number of people to enter courthouses and the amount of cases to be reviewed. Proceedings have been cancelled or postponed to a later date to ensure the safety of all parties during the hearings.
It is one of many fields that has been impacted by the pandemic, and reunification of families is at risk.
“Families have been incredibly hurt by the impacts of COVID-19, especially families in the child welfare system who were working hard to reunify,” said Mike Shaver, Children’s Home & Aid CEO. “We are incredibly inspired by both the foster families and biological families who banded together to support children and stay connected despite the new and unforeseen challenges.”
Though the future is uncertain for Chris, Nick, and their foster son, they are grateful to still have a constant and healthy connection with his biological family.
“We have been in contact with his aunt and siblings, they love this little boy and recognize us as part of their family,” Nick explained. “It puts our mind at ease knowing that he will be in a loving house after he leaves us.”