Figuring out schools is a big issue. And while not unique to foster care, several factors can complicate the equation.

Naturally, we aspire to keep kids in their current school. With so much painful change already, it seems best to keep at least one thing consistent.

After reading articles like this one from the Atlantic, sharing facts about kids losing 4-6 months of academic progress per move, our determination set.

And yet, with our very first placement of three kids, try as we might, we couldn’t.

Their current school was a 50 minute drive from our home. Crayons and library books and dvd players couldn’t overpower good old sibling rivalry in a small backseat. 

Knowing we needed to find a closer option, we began the process of researching, interviewing, touring all the schools we could find.

We created our own matrix of plusses and minuses for each as we evaluated the options.

The public city school just a few blocks away, but struggling in more ways than one. We moved on quickly, promising ourselves we could find better.

The local magnet school where generously, three spots were made. The kids could stay together, but they would be in the racial minority (a dramatic shift from their previous school and one they might have difficulty navigating amid the many other changes).

Several new, well-ranked charter schools with strong academics. Splitting the kids across town, but offering a more even mix of ethnicities.

A neighborhood Catholic school with a beautiful tie to the community. Allowing all three to be in one building, but coming with a hefty price tag and a faith these kids didn’t claim.

In the end, we choose to keep them together at the local magnet. One school. For their sakes and ours. While they fought like cats and dogs, their bond was all they had. And it was stronger than we knew. Together, they managed the new waters.