We jumped back into fostering this past weekend. We got the call on Friday night. "Can you take 3 boys for the weekend?" The foster mom explained that her usual respite provider canceled at the last moment. When a foster family needs a break, respite providers provide this break. The boys were aged 5, 11, and 16. The younger 2 were brothers. After Chase and I talked about it, we decided we could provide a place for these boys.
They arrived at our house about 1 hour after I got off from work. They carried in their clothing for the weekend stay in plastic shopping bags. Their foster mom explained their medicines and care. Their foster dad carried in a TV for the oldest's xbox. I showed them into our home and gave the children a tour. The two littlest happily claimed the yellow bedroom, and the oldest the blue room. We sat with the boys and chatted for a while, and started a movie. The youngest quickly fell asleep on our couch. Both of the older boys offered to carry him to his bed, but we gently woke him up. The little one's brother walked him down the hall and tucked him to bed. The middle one went to bed too. The oldest and Chase stayed up enjoying video games while Mary and I went to bed as well.
The next morning, the boys stayed with Chase while I went to work. Mary was fussy so Chase didn't get to spend much quality time with them. When I got home, I took over caring for Mary. We got out the legos and played with the youngest. He loved legos! We made a stable for the horses, and helped the police drive their boats. I put on a movie while I went to feed Mary. When I got done, we all ate grilled cheese sandwiches and grapes. Then we went on a walk. I let the middle boy walk Ruby, and the smallest got to walk Gary. I pushed the stroller. Gary was a perfect companion for the little guy. Gary doesn't pull or bark anymore. He just totters along slowly. Chase and the oldest played video games together. Chase has a Civil War game so I hope the oldest learned the history of some Civil War battles too!
When we got home, Chase gave cooking lessons to the 2 oldest while I played Uno with the youngest. Over dinner we asked the boys what they liked. The middle one loved all sports except for basketball. The two youngest both loved swimming, and hoped to do some this summer. We learned the oldest has his drivers license and wanted to purchase a car. He wanted to join the navy after school, because it's a family tradition. He was sad he couldn't leave the state to visit family. All 3 children were hoping to be able to return to their mothers this summer.
Reunification is the goal of fostering. Almost all foster children dream of reuniting with their families. It doesn't matter how messed up the biological family seems, children want their family. We are frequently asked "Don't you want to adopt them?" with regards to the foster children. And the answer is...NO we want their biological families to get the support and help they need to turn things around. We want the biological families to provide loving and supportive homes for their children. That is what is best for the children. Unfortunately, that doesn't always happen. Of course, we would adopt a long term foster in that case, and love them as much as we love MM. BUT that is not what we hope and pray for.
As usual, we instantly loved these children. I've never met such a polite teenager. Even though the 2 other boys weren't related to him, it was obvious he protected and cared for them. The 2 brothers were just so sweet. When their foster parents came to pick them up, we told them they are welcome to call us as respite providers any time. Oftentimes when I tell others how well behaved/sweet/kind/helpful/not bad/anything good the foster children are, I'm immediately asked "Isn't that unusual to get a well behaved foster child?" This question drives me bonkers, but provides an excellent opportunity to explain the truth. The truth is...the children are JUST CHILDREN. They have been through some awful things, but they are just children. Foster children DID NOTHING to become foster children. It's not their fault. They didn't deserve this. The poor children don't need a stigma - they face enough challenges already. Foster children need love, acceptance, stability, and fun just like a non-foster child. It breaks my heart that there is a misconception that foster children are innately poorly behaved.
If anyone stumbles across this blog and is curious about fostering. Drop me a line with questions.
Peace and Love, y'all
Chase and I are still waiting for "the call" that we can say yes to. We aren't sure if we are ready for a long term foster, but we're ready to try. Right now we are more comfortable with sibling groups or a boy since Chase is a stay-at-home-daddy. We were called yesterday about a teenage girl, but we had to say no. Saying no is more difficult than saying yes.