From reading writing of other foster parents, I'm not the only one that becomes a mess around time for court. And we haven't had any cases that are truly complete messes to warrant me becoming a mess.
An upcoming court date sticks in my brain, especially with longer cases that have 90-day reviews, so court usually happens around the same time of the month and it's easy to remember. I start to picture drastic, sudden directions things could go. I build those into future timelines that I know are not really mine to imagine.
Then after court, everything is numb and gloomy. I'm sad for the children and that they will be stuck in foster care longer. I'm sad for parents who don't do what they need to do. I'm sad for the history of the parents that influences their actions and that they can't free themselves from their demons. Sometimes I'm worried things aren't being done the right way. Sometimes I hope for great news, and it doesn't come, and I'm disappointed. Overall the formality of it just sears into my heart the tragedy of it all, that this is about parents and children being ripped apart.
How to deal?
I update my friends and family. Though this time, I decided to back off on an e-mail update to a usual group of extended family and friends that is mostly meant to keep them in the loop of who is coming and who is going and to ask for prayer. This is the furthest we've gotten into a case and I'm more cautious about sharing details, even vague ones, than ever because I worry that I'm just providing entertainment in the story when much more is at stake, or that I'm making it look like we hope for the case to end in adoption by us. I really don't want them to hope for that for us for many reasons. But anyway, updating someone is cathartic. This time around, it was just two of my closest friends, one who is a foster parent, and my mom and my sister, who I'd asked right before court to pray.
I'm easy on myself the couple of days after court. I know I'm distracted and let myself slack off a bit. I cook easy food. I should avoid reading about other bad things in the world, but I totally failed on that the last time.
I exercise. I usually do this, but I'm considering doing an intense couple of weeks of exercise before and after court. I could listen to a really engaging book or podcast and just work it all out of me a bit.
What do you do?