We had a trip out of the country and worked on bringing Cricket as a Plan A. As we started getting closer to the trip without Plan A being solid, we worked on Plan B. Plan B worked out to be Cricket staying with her sister's grandmother Gina.* Cricket's sister lives with Gina, and Gina is becoming licensed so that she can take all three siblings, though only one is biologically related to her. It became clear that Plan B was better than Plan A anyway, so we went with that.
So, we headed off for time with my in-laws with waterparks, birthday celebrations, and long drives. Cricket enjoyed a few days in her future home, spending time with her sister, a person extremely important to her. Our time was one of our busiest trips, just not much down time planned. Between the frantic pace, long car trips, and extended time in noisy environments, Plan A with Cricket would have been a nightmare. Even I was crabby and overwhelmed by 3 pm of the second waterpark/hotel day. I would have had to retreat with her often and just do our own thing, which I would have done, but I'm glad we avoided it overall. With two kids and two parents, we were able to give Dinosaur and Rhinoceros lots of one-on-one time. Those two. Dinosaur fears no waterslide. He spent the first day just getting in line time after time, riding every single one multiple times. Rhinoceros clung to me some at first, but found a red water cannon (because anything not the color red is dead to him) and warmed up to the wave pool.
I had B pick up Cricket as she tends to react more emotionally when I am there, but that does mean he wasn't as inquisitive as I would have been, so I'm not sure what all she did. When I called, Gina said she was sleeping well there and they were having a ton of fun. Cricket arrived happy and bubbly for about half an hour, then fell apart and cried until bedtime. This morning, more wailing, more aggression, but once we left the house, she seemed to click back into routine.
Court was today and the caseworker said the move to Gina would be in 30-45 days. I hope that is the case without much delay, because Cricket really needs to be there soon. I know it won't be easy, I know Rhinoceros will lose his favorite playmate (even if she is also his worst enemy), and I know Cricket will not understand where we've gone from her life and will be affected by that loss. But she really needs to be with her sister, and I hope being with her will help her heal. We're having her sister over here this weekend to give them a bit more time together and to thank Gina for being so flexible with providing respite. It's our first time having an elementary-school-aged foster child in the home. She's the same age as Dinosaur, so I'm already prepping him that she's coming to visit Cricket, and we should all give them space to just enjoy being together. We'll see how it goes!
*not her real name, but I can only type sister's grandmother so many times.