Saturday, December 22, 2012


After several visits with the foster family, K10 officially moved into our home the week of Halloween.  It was bittersweet.  We met at our usual McDonalds about 1.5 hours from home, pretty close to the middle of our houses.  K10 was already indoors playing in the playplace.  She recognized us right away and run over to give us hugs.  K8 and K9 quickly ate their lunch and began playing with K10.  I chatted with foster mom for awhile and observed her son.  He has autism and was clearly struggling with the volume of noise.  He had visited with us before, but this visit he was clearly more agitated. He kept repeating "oh no!  We left her."  Foster mom kept reassuring him that nobody had been left anywhere.  She kept talking to him and showing him that she could account for everybody.  It didn't take long for us to understand that he had figured out that this would be the last time he would be with K10 and was worried about leaving her.  As we loaded up our cars, foster mom was very matter of fact.  She handed me paperwork of previous dr visits, vaccines, savings account funds, suitcase full of clothes and bags full of toys. Her adult daughter gave K10 a huge hug and started to shake with tears. K10 caught some of the distress and became agitated. We had taken K10 on weekend visits previously, but this was the first time K10 expressed concern with saying goodbye.  The foster mom gave K10 a quick hug, told her to be good, and said goodbye. K10 said, "No, Mommy" and held her arms out. The foster mom just said "I love you", turned and got in her car.

I was a little confused.  Foster mom had seemed abrupt and somehow off. We waved goodbye and I looked at hubby.  "Well, that was odd." I said.  As Robert turned to look at me he caught a glimpse of foster mom in her car.  "I don't think so," said Robert as he raised his eyebrows and tilted his head in the direction of the other car.  As I glanced over my shoulder, I could see the tears on her children's faces and I could see the complete devastation on foster mom's face.  She had held herself together as long as she could.  She was being strong to hold her other children together.  Her autistic child was screaming full bore as she backed out of her parking space.  Her love for our shared child was evident and I will forever be grateful to her for her many efforts with K10.  She was proactive in gaining many services for K10 which helped put K10 on the road to healing.  We have a lot to do still, but she got the ball rolling.  Never again will I question the reaction of a foster family saying good bye. I have not walked in their shoes and I do not know what it takes for them to hold their family together.

Taking on another kid means lots of adjustments.  Kids that had previously had private rooms are now sharing a room with a much younger sibling.  Sometimes this works...sometimes it doesn't.  Currently we have the 15 year old and the 2 year old sharing a room (NOT working) and the 12 year old and the 5 year old (most difficult of the 3 children) are sharing a room - working VERY well.  The two boys, age 6 and 4 are sharing a room and it mostly works...except at bedtime when they talk and giggle into the night. I guess that's just being brothers.

Although I am not making any immediate changes...mostly because that requires effort and time, something I am lacking in my days right now, I recognize that things moved so fast that we made quick arrangements to get the newest kids moved in quickly.  I hope that soon we will have a good routine and I can devote some time to find a better solution for room space.  Right now my best option is to wait until K1 (now 18 and in college) decides that so many kids in the home is cramping his college life and decides to move out.  This allows K5 to regain her private room without a 2 year old getting into her stuff.  I can then put K10 in K8's room and move K3 to K1's room.  This gives each teen their own room, while the "under age 6 crowd" shares with a sibling.  Truly, this is ideal.  So how much more noise will it take for K1 to run out of the house screaming "I just want some peace and quiet!!!"...  Hmmm.  Well, since K1 adores kids and has committed his life to opening a business specifically to play with kids, I guess I will have to come up with a better plan.

In the meantime, we adjust.  We adjust to new routines and new chaos.  It is 2 days before Christmas and we have the tree up.  It has lights on it and some candy canes.  It is a minimalistic view of a christmas tree and is devoid of our usual traditions.  I hope that next year we will reinitiate our beautiful ornament tradition (each child get a new ornament that reflects something of their year - giving us an ornate tree of memories) but for this year...I think I am ok with the simplistic tree.  The youngest kids are excited and the piles of presents under the tree remind us how blessed we are to have loved ones in our life.  I have purchased .98 cent stockings to hang by the fireplace...I think I will give the kids glitter, pompoms and glue and let them decorate at will.  This might not be a Christmas filled with our traditions, but it will be a Christmas filled with our love.

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