Picking up The Twins

The day I went to pick up The Twins was so cold and rainy.  The weather was just bad that day.  Baby Girl and I loaded up in the truck, put the address I was given into the GPS and headed out.  First, we went to their previous foster home to pick up their belongings and then we followed their social worker to the daycare they had attended since entering foster care just one month prior.  The social worker unloaded the carseats, handed them to me and went inside to get The Twins.  I loaded the much too large and completely inappropriate (for three year olds) booster seats into my truck.  I didn’t say anything to the social worker about the seats because I was just meeting this woman.  If she was the one who bought the boys these seats, I didn’t want to offend her by saying they weren’t correct, so I just stayed silent.  She came out of the daycare with two of the most precious little boys that I have ever seen.  Identical twins, K and J walked outside in the cold with their little matching jackets on and I bent down to meet them.  “Hi, I’m Miss B,” I said.  “Oh, they’re going to call you mama,” the social worker interrupted.  “They call all women ‘mama’ and all men ‘daddy.”  “They can call me whatever they want,” I replied.  In my mind, I knew this wasn’t a good sign.  It isn’t normal for a child to use those words for anyone, but their immediate and most special caregiver.  T never called me, “mama” and he was with me for seven months.  The twins are younger than T, but still I knew this couldn’t be a good sign of attachment to their parents.  I picked the boys up one at a time and put them into their car seats.  The social worker told me she would be in touch with me later in the week and she drove away.

After everyone was all buckled, I got into the driver’s seat and looked in my rear view mirror.  Three three-year olds looked back at me.  Baby Girl, K and J were all buckled and ready to go.  Was I?  Could I do this?  Three children under three years old is a lot… but yes I knew I could!  God had given me this blessing and we were going to be fine.  I turned around and said, “Everyone ready to go home?”  K looked at me with a HUGE smile on his face and said to me clear as day, “We’re your babies now Mama!”  My heart both sank and broke at the same time.  They just met me.  They haven’t been in my car for two minutes and they’re already calling me, “mama.”

Sweet precious babies.  My sweet little twins!





Rage: Part 2

Sad Eyes needs a therapeutic environment.  It is not that he doesn’t also need a loving mommy, daddy, and family, but right now he just isn’t ready for that.  His downward spiral reached a point of him being a danger to himself and others.  His behavior was erratic.  He didn’t listen to warnings of danger.  It broke my heart.  But, I do believe and I do know that his social worker is going to do everything in her power to get Sad Eyes the best help that is out there and available to him.

The day after Sad Eyes left, T and I went on the hour drive to see Sad Eyes and his mom and granny.  We showed up at DHR and T recognized the van that he was used to being driven around in.  He asked if he’d be coming back with me after the visit and I assured him that yes, he was coming home with me after his family visit.  We entered DHR, Sad Eyes was sitting across the waiting room and jumped up as soon as he saw me.  He ran over and wrapped his arms around my waist, “I go home with you,” he said, not as a question, but as a statement.  My heart sank.  Sweet precious boy, I wish you could.  I wish you were ready for the love I want to give you.  I hugged him.  Then, we all walked into the back where we had a meeting to discuss the case with all of the members of the team.  The point of this whole thing is to get these boys back with their biological relatives, hopefully their mother.  So, we talked about what needed to be done while the boys played in a separate room at DHR.  It is then that I learned the sad truth.  Sad Eyes has been dealing with these “outbursts” and “rages” for years.  He has lived with his mother, his granny and several other of his biological family members, in two different foster homes and had a stay in a behavioral health facility, all before coming to our house.  No matter where he lives, he acts out in this way.  I am not the first person to see it.  I hope I’m one of the last, but we can’t be sure.  We all agreed that he needs help.  He needs therapy and a safe environment where he can be free to start his healing.  He has been through so much, way more than any little person should ever experience and he’s got to be able to let that out.  He needs a therapeutic environment, we all agreed.  So, we won’t see Sad Eyes for a while, but we plan on visiting him wherever he stays, so that T and he can stay connected.  I also plan to take T to see his other younger brother who is in a different foster home.  That foster mother and I have met and plan to keep the boys in contact while they are in foster care.  We don’t want them to lose that brotherly bond that they have.  So, lots of visits are in our future.

How long will T be with us?  I don’t know.  All I know is that T IS ready for a loving family.  He is ready for going to school every day, for having his meals made for him, for being taken to the doctor when he’s sick, for being read to at night, for having someone help him with his spelling words, and for love.  He’s ready.  So, as long as he’s with us that is what we’ll do.

Six Months Ago

Exactly six months ago today we were “waiting,” waiting for foster children.  We had been licensed foster parents for a little over a month and a half and the waiting was killing me.  I would carry my cell phone around with me and check it obsessively for missed calls. I just knew I was going to miss that very first all important call asking us to take children, but I didn’t!  That day six months ago started out pretty normal.  I went to my daughter’s school to volunteer, got some lunch, and ran some errands.  It was a Wednesday, so I was also getting my lesson plans ready to teach the kindergarteners that night at church.  When the time came to pick up my three kiddos and one extra friend from school, I got in the van and took off for the first school.  I was happy to see the kids and asked them about their days.  The first stop light we arrived at was a red light and my cell phone began to ring.  I looked down to see the name of our social worker pop up on the screen of my phone.  I wasn’t even excited yet.  I figured it was just another routine call to ask for some new piece of paperwork needed for our file or to ask us a question about something in our file.  I had no inclination that this would be THE CALL!  I answered my phone.  “Hello,” I said and heard the voice of our social worker on the other end of the line.  “Hi,” she said, “I just received a call from DHR and they have two children they are picking up right now that they are looking for a home for; the only information I have is that there is a three year old little boy and a seven month old little girl.”  My heart skipped a beat!  “Let me call my husband,” I said.  Needless to say that call went VERY fast and he said, “Let’s go for it!”  I made my return call and found out that the social worker from DHR would call me in a few hours to set up a time to drop the kids off that night.  WOW!  Now, my heart was really racing!  I got the kids home, picked up my cell phone again and made a call to a friend who could cover for me at church, teaching that night.  We then started to get things ready at the house.

I changed the sheets on the extra “big boy” bed in my son’s room and put clean crib sheets on the crib in my room.  I washed some dishes, called my husband and asked him to pick up a few baby items at the store on his way home and donuts!  I don’t know where we had heard it, but someone told us that donuts were the official love language of food, so we HAD to have these!  Then, we waited.  It wasn’t until 9:00 pm that night that a strange car pulled into our driveway.  We had all been taking turns standing at the window and watching for “the babies” to arrive, so when the car entered the drive, we were all jumping around with excitement.  My husband and I  asked our big kids to go to their rooms for a while in order for Mommy and Daddy to talk to the adults and so that we didn’t overwhelm the babies when they first came into our home.  I was so afraid that they would be scared of us!  I had been praying continually since that very first call earlier in the day that God would give the babies a sense of peace and calmness as they entered our home.  I knew this day had probably already been very traumatic for them and I wanted to make the rest of it as easy as possible on them.

We opened our front door and my husband and I walked to the car to help unload the babies and the bags of things that DHR had bought for them that day.  Both of the babies were asleep in their carseats.  My husband carried Baby Girl inside and one of the workers carried in Little Man.  I grabbed diapers, wipes, and formula and we all headed inside.  We talked a short while about what would take place in the next couple of days.  There would be a 72 hour court hearing and we wouldn’t know a lot more until after that had taken place.  We were told that a worker would pick the babies up at 7:00 am on Friday morning to take them to court.  I then asked if we should wake the babies up before they left, so they knew they were in a different place and we all agreed that would be a good idea.  My husband took Baby Girl out of her carseat carrier and held her in his arms.  She was so incredibly tiny and petite.  I took Little Man out of his seat and started to talk to him.  He let out the beginning of a cry and I immediately carried him into the kitchen to open the donuts.  BEST ADVICE EVER!  Not only did he enjoy the donuts, but I think he was quite hungry, he barely chewed and shoved as many donut holes into his mouth as he could.  We quickly learned that we would have to portion things out for Little Man and watch him closely, so that he wouldn’t choke himself.  I looked over at my husband now.  He was gently swaying back and forth with Baby Girl.  It was such a tender moment.  She was so tiny and helpless and he is so big and strong, yet so incredibly gentle and loving.  It’s in moments like that one that I fall more deeply in love with the man that I married.

The workers said goodbye and left.  Then the giggles and whispers from our big kids could be heard coming from the back bedroom and we knew they were excitedly waiting to meet the babies.  We walked back to our oldest daughter’s room where they were all waiting and opened the door.  They all squealed!  The meet and greet went very well!  Kids just seem to have a way with other kids, it’s like instant friendship!  They all were so excited to see and play with each other.  Settling down was hard that night and we were all up pretty late, but we were together.  The waiting was over.  We were together, a family.  And we knew that we would be there for these two precious ones for as long as they needed us.