Saying that you are a foster parent doesn't just mean you take care of kids who's parents can't or won't. It means that you become a foster family. In our case this family came to include our bio kids, our extended family and the families and extended families of our foster kids. What a surprise and a bit of a miracle....
We became a state licensed foster family in September, 2009. the day we received our license we were asked to provide a home to a little girl, 2 years old with possible cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder and a profound developmental delay. We were also told that she had a one year old brother but they were not looking to move him, just the more difficult to care for sibling. We were told that she was prone to tantrums and uncontrolled screaming and thrashing that sometimes caused injury to herself; this was part of the reason that they had already been moved twice within the last month.
Hot Mama and I had prepared our home to take school aged kids, we were open to sibling groups and disabilities but didn't feel like babies and toddlers were the best choice for where we were at in our lives. Even though we had made this decision when our case worker described this little girl we thought, we might be able to do this. We made arrangements with the current foster mom to visit and evaluate what level of care this child would need and decide if we would be able to provide it.
We arrived at the current foster parents home and were greeted with a little girl, obviously delayed in every way for her age, but with adorable brow eyes and a cute grin she was willing to share with us. She was placed in Hot Mama's lap and started to play pat-a-cake. We looked at each other and knew we were in this for good. We assumed that this was just a visit to meet her and decide if we could provide for her needs in our home, but the current foster family was stretched thin and ready for her to move on. Soon after we arrived they began gathering her meager belongings and packing her up to go. We were a little shocked, but being new to this....well, just went along. They loaned us a car seat and we were off with our fist foster child. It was a holiday weekend and this was a Friday so we were on our own with no contact from the case workers until Tuesday.
We left with Sissy in the car seat saying over and over again one of the only two words she knew at the time pweees, pweees, pweees. It was heart wrenching, please what Sissy?.... please tell me what is happening to me, please tell me why we are leaving my brother....
We needed everything... we had nothing that a 2 year old would need. Off to the store shopping, while we were shopping Hot Mama was overcome with the intense emotions of the situation. This child had had been taken from her parents, moved to now 3 homes in the course of a month and her parents had no idea where she was or that she had been separated from her brother. We both had to take some deep breaths and make sure that our demeanor remained calm and positive for our new little Sissy.
We thought of that little brother the entire weekend, he had been sitting in a high chair poking at some peaches when we arrived, still very traumatized and drooling profusely. I can only imaging his anguish as we left with his sister, the only thing familiar left in his life.
Tuesday morning rolled around and I called our case worker, she asked how our visit went and if were we thinking about taking Sissy. I told her that she had been with us all weekend, she was surprised but kind. I am sure that it broke all kinds of rules for us to have her, but I know she realized that we were all doing the best we could. Then I told her that we could take her brother too, that we would be able to handle her special needs and the needs of a 1 year old too, (I had already given notice at my job as a special education para educator that morning). She said she would call me back, she had to make some calls. Within the hour she called me back and we were making arrangements to to pick Buddy up at a parent visit that afternoon.
Later that afternoon I would meet the parents of these kids, the people who had lost their kids to the state, they would probably dead beat addicts, I mean what kind of person looses their kids to the state..... I was wrong, turns out they would end up being some of my favorite people ever, they turned out to truly be part of the family, lucky us.
How they came to be part of the family is another story.....