Fiona will call tonight and typically Jane and I touch base before the call via email. This happened as usual today. In Jane's email she said that she really liked the scrapbook that I made for Fiona (whew!) and would I mind adding a picture of our home and some type of wording about the fact that though we don't live in our home that we are connected by love and phone calls and letters. I am cool with that; I did not do anything like that because in prior emails it seemed like Jane wanted us to back of the "love" word but I suspect from the way the phone calls have gone that she feels it is okay.
The more challenging part of the email involved a question from Jane about whether or not I felt that we had to discuss Fiona's removal and the fact that she was never coming to live at our home before we plan a visit. Jane said, quite correctly, that this is the 'elephant in the room' that we never talk about. I agree but am hesitant to have this conversation. First of all, it happened 9 years ago. 9 years ago is a lifetime for a child. And the actual reason that she never came back to our house was a result of the comprehensive testing that took place in two treatment facilities that both concluded a regular family environment could not keep her safe. I mulled things over a bit and then asked Jane via email if we could sort of walk around the elephant. Fiona has done well moving forward and has begun to have some goals--a volunteer assignment that may ultimately lead to a job, for instance. If there is a housing goal to work toward, say a group home or apartment on the school grounds with less supervision, would that not be perhaps a healthier focus. I always feel a bit nervous making suggestions to clinical folks. I am not a therapist, not a counselor, but I do appreciate being part of the process. I hope so very much that we find a way to handle this in a way that doesn't hurt Fiona.