Best interests of the children. Best interests of the kids.
Those five words rest in the background of my brain almost constantly these days. They echo through my mind while I watch my 5-year-old biological son, Ryan, and my 4-year-old foster son, BlueJay, ride their scooters up and down the sidewalk in front of our house on an oddly warm December afternoon. They are quietly present during the holiday concerts at preschool or while I make room for the sudden influx of new toys in our home.
After more than eight months in our care, BlueJay’s future is starting to sharpen slightly into focus. Or rather, the number of possible futures are narrowing down. If everything continues as expected, it appears he will either stay with us or he will move to live with relatives several hours away.
It all comes down to five simple yet extraordinarily complicated words: best interests of the children.
There will be a study done of the relatives’ home. There could be an evaluation that would try to measure the strength of our bond with BlueJay. There will probably, at some point, be a room full of lawyers representing various biological relatives of BlueJay who will argue over the answer to the question: What is in the best interests of BlueJay and his brothers?