Coming up on our third anniversary of fostering, I looked at the photos we have on our wall. They're from that summer of 2013. Dinosaur was five and Rhinoceros was two. We were visiting family while Pterodactyl was in respite, and my sister-in-law did a photo session for us. On the one hand, it worked out well that we just had our forever family together for photos. At that point, we thought she was staying with us for a very short time. I'm really glad to have those photos and that I didn't put them off. And of course, it was nice to have photos that I could share on social media and send out at Christmas.
On the other hand, it's unsettling that we sought an opportunity that Pterodactyl wouldn't be with us, as if we actively excluded her. And it's sort of set a precedent that we haven't included any foster children in formal family photos, so to suddenly include a child would make it seem like we are banking on him or her being a permanent part of our family. Do we have a family photo session every placement? Not going to happen, not with the one-month and two-month placements. I would be sad for the family photos we misses if we suddenly started having photo sessions with foster children, though of course we have amateur family shots with each foster child.
So, now what? I would like some more family photos soon. Though he's our record-breaker of time with us, I would be quite surprised if Crocodile became a permanent part of our family. How would I look back on these pictures of us as a family of five? Can I be confident to include him, no regrets, and know that he was a part of our family for that time? I know some who have taken family photos with just the backs of everyone, or with the foster children's faces hidden in different ways.
Sometimes the "for now" part of fostering is the most unsettling, always being on the edge of change at some point.