My girls have a sister, born a few days ago. A state child welfare worker had called to ask me if I could go pick her up from the NICU tomorrow & accept placement. "Ummm...I'm gonna have to call you back. That's not a question that can be reasonably answered in a 5 minute phone call."
I did ask if ICW had any other potential placements, since they almost always have people ready to take a newborn who's case is relatively low legal risk. She told me definitely they did not & we're counting on me to take placement.
Fortunately, my tribe has a wonderful ICW department. Before I was able to find the number for the worker assigned to that county, she had already called me.
She told me she felt like the state was trying to pressure me into taking the placement & wanted to talk to me to make sure that, if I accepted, it was because I wanted to, rather than because I was being told she had nowhere else to go.
We had a good talk and it turned out we agree on what constitutes an ideal place my for the baby: sibling relationships, a tribal home willing to become permanent should she become legally free, and a family with enough room to grow when future siblings are born. I can give her the first 2, but in a crowded setting that would result in sacrifice for all children in the home.
Plus there's no chance of future siblings coming here. I'm already at capacity &, at a certain point, when there's not enough time or energy to make sure all the children get the therapy (which every foster child over age 3 should get) or to spend time teachings them age appropriate boundaries, it isn't in their best interest to take more regardless of relation.
I think we're at a state now where we could handle one, but that's all. There's only one of me & I have enough sense to know that just wanting to help isn't good enough. I have to be able to teach them & not allow them to be wild destructo children. So, I would consider placement with me second best to a home that can meet all the criteria.
She was able to find a home who can give all those things. They are a tribal home who wants to work with me to keep the siblings in contact. This was non negotiable for me. I would not have approved the placement otherwise & would have taken her into my home, instead.
But, this couple seems very excited & will be going to pick her up tomorrow. They told me to expect to hear from them soon after so that the girls can meet their baby sister.
I hope that they are, indeed, willing to help me keep the sibling relationship together. I am very thankful for my ally in ICW who intends to facilitate to make sure this happens.
In the years I've worked with them (wow, 10 years?!?) Choctaw Nation ICW has been amazing. They care so much for the kids & try to focus on their best interest. I wish every other child welfare department did the same. And I also wish our Nation would fund them better so that they can serve more of our children. They are our future.