Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Foster Care Scars..

On August 26, 2008. I was sitting poolside at my Aunt (by marriage) house. My phone rang, it was almost 5 pm. I missed it, my caseworker left a voicemail for me. I tried frantically to call her back, but the office was closed already. That was just the beginning..

I had been a foster parent for 5 months. I had several short term placements.  I was a 24 yr old widow, determined to find a purpose in life.
They had been in foster care since April 2007. (ironically the day we buried my husband). They had been in 2 homes and now needed a new home.

I was able to reach the caseworker's voicemail. I left her a message stating that I was prepared to take these kids. They had called me about these kiddoes before. But the county caseworker wanted a 2 parent, African American home, so my file had been turned down.. But for some unknown reason, my private agency CW had resubmitted my profile. There was a new county caseworker on the case and she approved us, as an emergency respite. Now my agency was trying to work out the details.

They were 3 and 4 yrs old. She looked like a little fawn, big scared eyes, cute little pixie face. He was all macho, brave little man. I imagine Bubbie being in foster care and my heart breaks for my son's lost innocence.

It took us 2 days to work out the details. There were allegations of abuse, laws being broken, rules being bent, whispers of problems in the previous home.

The kiddoes were supposed to arrive at 4 pm. My friend S came over to hang out with me, to help me transition these kids into my home. We knew there would be drama.

The caseworker arrive at 6, (she would eventually become a good friend). She informed us that the foster parents wanted to bring the kids over themselves, after dinner. I felt uncomfortable, but I was young and new at this..

They finally arrive at 9:30 at night.. I lived back a long driveway, way out in the country. This African American Grandpa and Grandma, arrive with their hispanic son entow. They brought the two little kids..

they didn't bring a stuffie.

They didn't bring pjs.

They didn't bring pictures.

They didn't bring toys.

They didn't even bring a change of clothes or underwear.

These kids had lived in their home for 3 months and they had done respite for them for over  a year..They brought NOTHING. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

They dropped off these two little kids. The little girl, she was asleep or pretended to be. THey carried her into the house and plopped her into a bed.
The little boy, he was 4 yrs old. He came in with his foster brother.. and they played with my friend's son in the toy room, while us adults talked. It was uncomfortable to say the least. The foster parents were not happy. I wasn't sure why exactly they were arriving at 9:30 pm instead of 4, as was scheduled.

We talked for a couple minutes, then they called their adopted son out of the bedroom. Then.. they quietly snuck out the door. The little 4 yr old boy had not been told anything. He thought they were visiting my house, as friends. Suddenly he realized that his family had left without him. He ran screaming for the door, frantic to get out. I was a complete stranger, a white stranger who lived way back in the scary woods. I locked the door to keep him from running.

He collapsed in the caseworkers arms, crying for his mommy...  the one who had just dropped him off, without an explanation, who had left him with strangers without saying good by..

Meanwhile the little girlie, slept on in bed. To this day if she gets woken up in a new place in the middle of the night, she will cry nonstop.

Eventually the caseworker left, the friend left, the little boy settled in to watch a movie until he fell asleep.

The little girl woke up at 3 am, she screamed frantically for her mommy. Where was she? Who was the young white woman who had replaced her black grandmotherly mommy? It tooks hours to settle her. She never again cried for her first or second mommy. She shut down.

The next couple days were hard. No one knew if the kids would be staying in this home long term.This was a trial and the county would ultimately make a decision on whether they would stay or go.

The little boy would cry, big crocodile tears, why do my mommies not love me? Why did they leave me? There was nothing to do but to hold him and cry with him.  He lived with the fear of abandonment for many years, babysitters were scary cause what if this new mommy would not come back.

Time marches on.. time heals.. but scars will always remain. To lose everything familiar to you in one night, to have this happen multiple times with multiple caregivers is devastating.

It took us over 3 years to adopt these two kiddoes. But they are now permanent members of our family.

As a mother, that was one of the hardest things.. to see these little kids devastated by the awful transitions. I was too young and niave. I did not fight for their possessions from the previous home.  I will always regret that...

Now these two are 12 and 13 yrs old. Those days are vague memories.. God has done an incredible work in all of our lives..

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