We didn’t wait long after getting our foster license before we were placed with two adorable toddler sisters. However, just saying those words “placed” are missing so much. It is so much more than a placement, it is an upheaval of our life as we knew it and so much more love in our hearts that we didn’t think we could give. We were new to fostering, so we had no clue what to expect, so I will start from the beginning.
Our license arrives in October of 2015, January of 2016, on my way to work. I see a text come in from our Licensing Worker, and I pull over in a Starbucks to read it. I am sitting in the parking lot, staring at the text. “Are you able to take 2 AA sisters ages 1 and 2? We are looking for immediate placement.” I text her, “I will get right back to you. Let me check with my husband Garon, and what is AA mean?” she replies, “African American.” I call Garon, and his response was, “This is what we were meant to do” however, we were hoping for a single child since we have our bio kids, but he was right. This is what we were meant to do. So I text her back, “Yes!” They were set to arrive later that afternoon.
I went back home and waited…
The caseworker arrived with these sweet, spunky, and loud, little girls. No shoes, she had to stop and purchase them coats (January in the Midwest) and one car seat that we could borrow until she could hopefully get some of the supplies that a family member had. They had the girls prior to us, a Fictive Kin placement. I am not out to bash family placements, nor am I out to bash anyone in general, however babies and kids are in the system for a reason and these two little ones were now with us because their 2 younger siblings (6 month old twins) were literally starving because of them not being fed the right amount of formula or formula at all.
Our little girls had marks on their body that looked like cigarette burns. They had trauma issues that cropped up as time went on. Sweet little 2yo, who was so loving, and would go to anyone that would hold her, could only babble and say, mommy. She called me mommy right away. She was potty trained, which was a surprise. Adorable little 1yo would hit, scratch, bite, and throw things regularly. Rarely smiled, and never snuggled. However, for the first week, she would only fall asleep in the crib if I lay next to it holding her hand.
We got into a rhythm.
The girls learned to eat healthy foods, take baths every day, and I learned how to care for their textured hair. Something that I never even thought about before. Wow, ladies, with textured hair, I applaud you at the work that goes into caring for your hair! I have new respect and love for braids. Our boys were great with the girls, but they felt very slighted and told us so. We had long talks about the girls needing a family, but our kids were still having a hard time. The girls required so much of our attention; it was hard to do much else. We took a few trips with them and had a great time seeing them experience new things. I loved them. I still love them.
It is hard to write about the decision we made to not move forward with adoption when that became their path. All I can say is we knew that the girls weren’t meant to be with us forever. That is so hard to say, but Garon and I prayed about it long and hard, and we both kept hearing God tell us the same thing. It was hard to understand, but we trust our Lord, and when we are both in agreement on what we are hearing, we obey. After about 8 months and several conversations, it was ending up that the girls would move in with the foster family that had their younger siblings. We thought for sure this was Gods plan for the girls all along, that they would be with their siblings now forever.
When the girls arrived at our house on that cold January day for the first time, they had the clothes they were wearing and the items the caseworker bought for them on the way to our house. Also, one bin from their family members house that contained a bunch of broken toys and clothes that were for boys and didn’t fit them. We were sending them to their forever family with boxes and boxes of clothes, toys, bedding, and everything that we used their stipend for and items we bought for them. It took 2 trips to get everything there. Quite the contrast.
A very difficult, and teary goodbye was said at the beginning of August 2016. The girls didn’t want us to leave. It was truly heartbreaking for me. There were hopes we would see them again by getting together with the family. Time passed, and they felt it was too hard for them to see us, so we didn’t see them again except in pictures on our wall. The smell in their room lingered from their lotion, and hair products for a long time. It was a vivid reminder of them. I would lay on 2yo’s bed and cry and cry… I don’t even remember how long this lasted. A long, long time. I knew it worked out the way it was supposed to, but my heart hurt so badly. I missed them so much.
It is funny how a total stranger’s children, can come into our life. Become a part of our family, and then be gone. Eventually, we carry on as we did before. I like to think that the 8 months the girls were with us, we touched their hearts or changed their lives in some small way. In reality, it was our hearts and lives that were changed in such a big way. Our first foster babies will forever be captured on our wall in photos, and in our hearts always.