They’re just Normal

I get home from a visit lugging in my bags and the baby. I go to get the bottle from the diaper bag and find a golden envelope. I turn it around curiously and see “Thank you” written in pretty writing. I’m so excited hoping its a picture of little 4 lb newborn baby J or a note written by her mother. I bend the metal clasps, lift up the seal and see money. I open the envelope as wide as it goes to check for a note but there is none.

I am the other woman raising her child. I am the one getting to watch the milestones and wake up to smiles but she chose to give some of her money to me. She didn’t hand this to me in person probably avoiding a refusal. I sat on my couch holding hundred dollar bills in disbelief. They’re just normal people.

Its a thought that constantly goes back and forth in my mind from how could they ever do this to their child to they’re just normal people who made bad choices. She wanted to support her child. She thanked me when she could have so many reasons to hate me, she doesn’t. She appreciates me raising her daughter.

I was not even sure how to go about handling the situation. I wanted her to know her gesture was sincerely appreciated. The caseworker addressed that due to ethics money is not aloud to be given. However she may purchase things she needs such as clothing or diapers. So I will be handing this back. Exactly what she may have tried to prevent. This time the envelope will have a note in it, from me. I want to thank her for her thought.

As much as I love my little one, I hope her mother can work through her hard times and be able and willing to raise her kids in a safe and stable home.

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Mom & Dad?

2-galaxy-2016-573There is a lot of awkward moments you come across in foster care and the title of Mom & Dad is a huge one. For babies, its more natural but for a 5 year old, it is not. This is a difficult age to the contrary of what we thought. A 5 year old knows shes not with her parents, and something bad happened but not old enough to be able to understand why she had to be taken away. We have a 5 year old nephew. He is awesome, easy going for the most part and oh so lovable. We accepted up to this age in hopes that he could have someone to play with. Actually we originally agreed to ages 0-4 but we pushed the limits for this sibling group. We had to change our paperwork and resign it. You also have a character check list your family decides are some things you’re willing to consider. These things can be as simple as a peanut allergy to sexual abuse victim. It seems harsh to go ahead and uncheck the more complex life’s these innocent kids have been burdened with, but you HAVE to be honest. You need to really understand what you are mentally, physically, emotionally ready for. In retrospect we were probably not ready for the whole Kindergarten thing and all of the hard emotions she came with but I do not regret our decision to take them into our home. This 5 year old had a really hard time dealing with emotions. She would shut down when you tried to show any sort of affection. We did not overwhelm her with hugs and kisses but we did continue to tell her we loved her as she walked into school and tuck her in every night. We rented the Tangled movie and she covered her eyes and hide behind the couch when they mentioned love. I know, I know this is the cooty age, but this was something more. It made us incredibly sad to see her uncomfortable with a very natural part of life. For a long time she has not felt that love. She was simply in survival mode. She loved being tucked in at night. This became a time she would usually let down her guard. She began to ask every night to be tucked in. I would cover her up, tuck her in and tell her I loved her. Then one day as I walked out of her room and flipped off the light she said “I love you!” With a huge smile, I told her again that I loved her. This is a huge milestone. These are things you picture yourself doing as a foster parent and showing them loads of love but I guess I never considered, what if they wont accept our love? She never called us mom and dad, although sometimes we would refer to each other as so. When speaking about her biological parents she would say “my other mom and dad…”, she viewed us as her parents. I’ll never forget the day I took the kids to the park. They were playing the classic freeze tag. This boy ran up and froze her. She playfully cried “help!” I ran over and unfroze her and she yelled to the boy “my mom unfroze me!” Time froze forΒ  me. All those sleepless nights and tantrums paid off. I can never replace her birth mother. I just want her to feel the love a mother can give. The safe person a mother is.

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