In the early days, I thought that Cricket was really attached to her baby brother, as she had a very big sister vibe to her. But with time, I've learned it's her big sister she really longs for. To make things more difficult, our state requires (unless a judge orders otherwise) three visits per week for Cricket's age group, but only one visit per week for her sister's. So, she is hopeful every time we go to a visit that she will see her sister, and every time she doesn't get to, she is disappointed and talks about wanting to see her before and after the visit.
Cricket is not really drawn to Dinosaur, who is near her sister's age, but whenever she's around a girl her sister's age, she lights up and follows her around eagerly. This is magnified when she sees a girl with her skin tone and similar hair. We have a few books with a girl that fits this description, and she always points her out as her sister. Though the funny part is that in one book she points out herself to be a toddler boy with pale skin, pretty much her complete opposite. It must be his size or that he has a big toddler grin like she gets.
This morning at church, it was my turn to help in the nursery, so I helped in her classroom. Then I decided staying the second service would be too much for us, but we could stay for a couple songs and see if she enjoyed it as she likes music so much, and our church is fairly lively. Before we went into the service, she spotted a girl that fit sister's type and went up to her eagerly. Thankfully the little girl thought Cricket was adorable and they chatted. Cricket kept telling me this was her sister, yet I knew she knew it wasn't true.
Then we went into the service, which she wasn't as into as I thought she might be, so we didn't stay long. But before we left, during a quiet moment she saw a family come in and, sure enough, another "sister" was spotted. "I see her!!" she shouted. I did manage to keep her from running over to her in the middle of the service.
Cricket also got nervous about a few particular people in church. Did they remind her of her dad? Someone else? I mentioned that visits have started with him. He was not parenting Cricket when she was removed. He claims her mom kept Cricket from him, and it was not by his own choice that he was not a part of her life. He was heartbroken when she reacted to him with fear at the visit. Later I realized I didn't do the best job of building a relationship with him as I was just trying to get out of there, but my focus was on Cricket and doing our goodbye routine swiftly instead of dragging it out.
We will see what happens with Cricket going to her dad or not, and I'm not sure how soon we'll know. I hope if she does, there is a good transition to help her feel more comfortable with him. What's so sad, though, is being with her dad means not being with her sister. They don't have the same dad. So the two short-term plans for Cricket are to move to a foster family that can take all the siblings or her dad, and those plans are in opposition with each other. I'm not saying one is better, just that it's sad that she can't have both. I'm also sad for her sister in general, as her foster mom is having her moved. Time is running out for that move, and I haven't heard anything about a foster family that can take all three, so she'll likely just be moved to another home where she isn't with her siblings.
Her foster mom also hasn't been very communicative about a sibling visit (without birth parents) that we're supposed to have this week. If she pushes back on our plans at all, I think I'll just offer to pick up Cricket's sister and bring her myself. Cricket really needs this time with her.