Another Placement

Around this time...the end of the 2011 school year, boys were about 2 1/2 years and 17 months, I was almost 8 months pregnant...we received a call for a 7 year old girl. Now that we had small children in the house and another on the way, there were safety issues to consider. The difficult reality of foster care, in my opinion, is the 'history' many of these kids bring with them. Abuse of all forms, neglect, training they teach you that kids who have dealt with these issues will often project them on to other children in the home, especially smaller children. So, this is something that must be thought through before accepting a placement. We believe, strongly, in not accepting a placement we don't feel we can commit to.

There was no sign or history of abuse or violence, so we said yes. The worker brought her to our house early one weekday morning. She had the prettiest long, blond, curly hair. She was quiet as a mouse as she took us in.... our two little guys inspecting this sweet new girl while her social worker gave us her belongings, which consisted of two or three items in a Walmart bag. She told us they were trying to contact her biological mom so it might only be a few days until they could move her there. We signed the only required form stating she was in our care, and the worker left.

We showed her where she would be sleeping and let her get her bearings for a bit. She seemed tired and a little overwhelmed. I have to think there is a built in fear of going to live with people you've never met....will they be nice, will they like me? I hope she saw that both of those were a 'yes' very quickly upon arrival. Mimi agreed to watch the boys while we took her to town to buy a few outfits and toiletries, take her to lunch, and as we always do, a doctors visit for a once over. It turned out she had strep, but otherwise seemed fine. It takes 24-48 hours for the state insurance to kick in so we found out she wasn't covered yet. Let's just say, I had a new appreciation for health insurance. Who knew doctor visits and antibiotics were SO expensive without it!?!

At any rate, when we got home and unloaded her bags from shopping that day she asked, "Are these all for me?" She was so thrilled with new jammies, some under garments and about 3 new outfits, she just lit up. I took her up to show her the shower and get her things set out, then headed down to start dinner. She came down and asked if I would help her with her hair, donning her new jams. I have to admit, it was pretty special, combing through her curls and braiding it for the evening. A glimpse at life with a daughter.

Knowing now that she was sick, she took it easy the rest of the night, or at least as much as the boys would allow, then went to bed early. Our guest bed was a white, antique wrought iron made complete with too many pillows and a down comforter. That sweet girl hugged us then climbed right in the middle of it all, closed her eyes tight as we prayed for her, as went right to sleep. She was just precious, and I might be lying if I said I didn't want her to stay.

Not long after all the kids were asleep, her social worker called to inform us they made contact with biological mom and she was approved and willing to take her daughter. She, the worker, would be by the next morning to pick her up. Well, nothing more to do other than pray she would be kept safe, and be loved and cared for.

The next morning, after a long and peaceful sleep, I went in to wake her up. She was still nestled in the middle of all the fluffy covers just as she was when we told her goodnight. Once she woke, I let her know that she would be leaving soon to go live with her mom. I'd hoped there would be a joyous response, but instead, she took hold of the covers and asked, "So, I won't get to sleep in this bed anymore?" No, sweet girl. My heart ached for her. We want to believe every little girl has a safe, fluffy place to rest, but it's just not always the case. She asked if she could lay there a little longer before coming down for breakfast. I laid out one of her new outfits and told her to come down when she was ready. She stopped me as I left the room, "Um, do I get to keep these clothes?" I said, "Of course you do." And left wishing we had bought her more.

At the end of breakfast the social worker showed up. She asked her if she was ready to go to her mom's. She looked at us, then looked at the worker and simply said, "Ok." We grabbed her for a quick hug and then she left.