If you’ve read some of my previous posts you know we were not expecting a kid that was in school! No one told us what to do, we didn’t know who to tell she was now in care or how to even get a bus to pick her up. We expected a little guidance but besides the monthly short visits and maybe the occasional email, we don’t have much contact with the Case Worker. So we just dived right in. With our first placement we relied a lot on our Foster Care Specialist, she is the Foster family’s worker. We went to her for things we probably could of just asked the case worker. We’ve come to learn some case workers are more involved than others but if you have questions, just ask!
The only information we received was the name of her school. We did keep her home the next day after she was placed with us just because everything was still so crazy. After being taken away from your parents and moved into with strangers with nothing, I’d say they deserve a quick break. So we called the school and spoke with the receptionist who was very understanding and concerned. I’m not sure how often they receive calls saying their student has been taken into Foster Care, but it does touch a lot of people. The next day my husband and I brought her to school, we had her little sister with us. We met her teacher in a conference room they had in the front office. We asked if there was anything supplies she needed and the teacher said no. Even though I’m sure she could have asked us to bring something she needed. She was the sweetest teacher, even she cried for her.She told us she had young kids herself and it broke her heart.
She was doing very well in school. She was very, very intelligent for her age. I think sometimes when their home life is so bad they really enjoy school more than the average child. It is a safe place with nice people and food. Her lunch was free, which helped. She had never had her lunched packed but really wanted to. So we got her a new book bag with a sparkly matching lunchbox. I packed her lunch and left a note in there for her, she loved it. She couldn’t wait to do her homework and would always ask if she could play her ‘school games’ online. She was five and able to read books very well. We couldn’t even spell things in front of her because she could figure it out :). She knew all about different animals she has seen on the show Wild Krats. She was mastering math and knew all about the solar system. It blows my mind that a child who lived in such neglectful situation was so bright. Even though she was very smart, she tend to ask to watch more infantile shows or grab a baby toy first.
Everyday they wrote in a journal. What she wrote shocked me. It was very deep for a five year old. She drew a picture of the hotel room with the room number and she wrote “One day I had to leave home.” Drawing was a great way for her to express herself. She started to draw more and more about life living with us and you could see her journal getting happier.
We tried to participate as much as possible. We brought in snacks when she was Super Star of the week and made posters. We attended her musical program, where she was the only kid not singing lol. We sent money for field trips and put her in the team color t-shirt for field day. We kept the teacher informed on the days she had visits with her birth family and we would talk briefly with the teacher as we picked her up from school. Her teacher often praised us, which meant a lot. So many times it feels we go unseen. Her positive attitude kept our spirits high when they were getting low.
One day she was having a huge fit, the school counselor had to actually pick her up and put her in our car. She would talk to the counselor weekly, which helped some. It was nice to know the school had a understanding. She spoke with her and told her why she couldn’t live with her birth mom right now. She told her something that she often repeated. “Your Mom did not make good choices.” I kind of thought that was harsh to a five year old, but she accepted it. She was way too intelligent to beat around the bush. This girl wanted answers, and rightfully so. I would too!
Her attitude was very bad in the beginning. This little girl would look at you like you were stupid and roll her eyes. She went through a bad period of tattling. Which in reading further into behaviors, tattling is often a way to gain control. Although it was rough at home, for the most part she behaved well at school. She always came home with smiley faces but we noticed a clear change in pattern as soon as visitation with Mom began.
I’m sure it was hard for her as much as it was for us. I think often how its a shame her birth parents missed out on almost all of her Kindergarten year. In the end we survived! We finished off the school year with a nice picnic with her classmates and took a picture with her teacher. That teacher gave her that much more love knowing her story. Thank you to the teachers who maybe themselves often go unseen for the unconditional love they show our students everyday in the classroom. This Foster Mom appreciates you!