A lot of my day is dedicated to addressing a looping cycle of the 5 W’s (and that one H- curse you, H!) being thrown my way. Remember this one? “I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew);Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who…” In this case, it was just, “What is that?”.
I relish these early years of their lives when they are small and the questions are so easy.Sigh..
In other news, our first emergency foster care call came a few weeks ago- we had been eagerly awaiting the first call and I had been walking around with my phone in my pocket ,like a surgeon on call.
We said no. I had a stomachache over it, but I just knew it would not be a fit. The call was for two little girls under two. One was on methadone and one had various physical and developmental disabilities. I think one of the tricks to being a successful foster family is to be able to say no sometimes in order to keep the quality of care high. I keep reminding myself of this, when I get these overwhelming urges to adopt everybody. And I mean, everybody.
The second call came a few days after that one. The little guy was already at the emergency facility and they requested that I go have a visit with him that day, and would pick him up the next. He was two, and was one of four siblings. Children under five weren’t allowed to stay at the shelter, so they were to be separated.
I paced, I prepared, I did laundry, I packed snacks. I drove the 45 minutes to the shelter with my plastic baggie full of family pictures to show the siblings he would be alright with us- we were alright, weren’t we? They buzzed me in and he was led out by a woman in scrubs. He could have been my Hooper’s twin.I spent an hour with Little Guy and by the end of the hour, we were rolling on the floor laughing together. I couldn’t wait to get him home. He had lice. I didn’t care. We would take him anyway. It should be a mother to comb through hair with careful, loving hands- not the tired, unfamiliar hands of the rotating staff at the shelter (bless their hearts).
I paced, I prepared, I did laundry, I packed snacks. I drove the 45 minutes to the shelter. When I got there, my stomach was in knots. When I saw the social worker’s face, I knew something was strange. She told me there had been a change of plans. They had located a relative and they were on their way. I was shocked, but tried to be gracious. I said, “what wonderful news.” Then I cried all the way home. How silly.
I reminded myself over and over that it was good news. Of course it is better for him to be with family. I had made it about me and not about him. Foster families are a last resort, as they should be. I have a feeling I will learn something new with each call. Adaptability is strength in emergency foster parenting, but I still need to build my calluses in that department.By the time I got home, I was composed and my mind was clear.
The kids were glad to take all of their stuffed animals out of garbage bags. This is our family’s second dodging of the lice bullet. Nothing like a happy ending. Hopefully, Little Guy will get his too.