It’s been almost a month since we were officially licensed, yet this is my first post since we have been inundated with foster care up to our necks. Our lives will never be the same again, I can tell you that with absolute certainty.
We got the call at 2:05pm on April 25th that we were licensed! We waited and waited and waited for the phone to ring with a placement. No dice. It wasn’t until we were about 5 minutes from home from an evening out that we got a call. Shortly after midnight, we had a tiny, scared bundle of cuteness in our arms. He was a 20-month old boy who had a twin sister and older brother that had to go to other homes that night. He didn’t say a word or make a sound all evening as I fed him applesauce and Beautiful put him down to bed. Well, that’s when he screamed. I went in and rubbed his back until he calmed down and we had a different boy the next day. Man, was he ever fun!
At 3pm, I was upstairs getting work done when I got a call from his case manager who said that they went to court and he was being taken home! I stopped working and went down to play with him until he left. I hadn’t been downstairs more than 30 minutes when I got a call from placement saying they had a 33-month old boy who would be arriving at the airport after dinner and they knew we’d have an empty bed by then. We fed our first one dinner, put him in the van for his ride home, and sat around until our next one came after 10pm.
This one came with a happy meal of nuggets and a box of juice. We quickly learned that he likes apple juice and his blue monkey, which he calls Bear. Since we can’t post photos, just picture young Anakin Skywalker from Episode One and you’re not too far off. Adorable. It hasn’t been until this week that he’s started to show his other side – undoubtedly some combination of early trauma and the Terrible Twos. We finally had to use timeouts today, but he fully cooperates with them and is all hugs and kisses when his 2 minutes are up, so we may have found something that works (sparingly) for him rather effortlessly.
He will be with us for a few months, but we face a challenge each week after he has family visitation. This week, we’ve had the added joy of a surprise visitation yesterday, so we are prepared for an unrelenting barrage of strange to bad behavior. When he’s good, our hearts melt. When he’s bad, we have to use every ounce of the training we’ve had to decide one of two things quickly and unanimously:
- do we treat this as parents of a toddler or
- do we treat this as parents of a severely traumatized little boy who just needs love a million miles before he needs discipline, even if the discipline is a quiet rebuke that hitting is not nice (he clearly doesn’t understand “we prefer you do x, y, or z”)
Getting my work done has been a challenge, but this is what we signed up for, so we are continually working as a team to find our happy medium where I’m involved but able to leave to go upstairs to work. We are tired and exhausted beyond what we thought possible. I am, especially, because I have an engrained sense of responsibility to fix everything, so I’m constantly analyzing him to gain an edge into his mind, figuring out why he did something, what he is thinking, and exactly what happened to him in the past. I’ve gone from crying over what I’ve been told to absolute rage over the knowledge that someone did something to this precious boy in diapers when he was even younger than this. I have to rest in the promise of renewal for those who want it. People can change.
I can assure you new dads of one thing: you will absolutely feel like the king of the world when you come home to a toddler running all the way across the room with his face hidden behind a smile and screaming “Daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy!” the whole way. Nothing compares.
Now that you’ve been caught up, I can resume writing snippets of our lives and how CF fits in with foster parenting and running a fully-booked business. Oh! I’ve started walking again in the morning. I supposed you may have guessed that from the photo.