The Reality Sets In

Hi Everyone! I was just sitting here contemplating my first official blog. I guess it makes sense to start with how I felt when I got that call saying I was getting my first child. Frankly, I was scared shitless! I was nervous, apprehensive, nauseous and excited. She was 14 years old and had never been in foster care before. She lived with her dad and he just couldn’t handle a child struggling with identity issues and he had a drinking problem. Mom wasn’t really in the picture. The day came and I got her settled in and it went well, I think. She was quiet and nervous, of course. She basically did what ever she was asked with minimal behavioral issues. Within 24 hours she was calling me Mom which carried its own issues. At the time, my children were 2 and 4 years old. They were confused as to why this teenage girl would be calling their mother MOM! I explained it as best as I could. I told them that she didn’t really have a mom in the picture right now and that it probably made her feel more secure and part of our family to call me that. ( I put it in 2 and 4-year-old terms, of course). They seemed to understand and didn’t seem too upset about it. I will say that she kept my kids at arm’s length. She seemed afraid to get too close to them both physically and emotionally. She always called them her little brother and sister but had trouble really connecting to them. I do feel that she genuinely cared for them but didn’t want to overstep any unspoken boundaries.Every Friday she came home from school, grabbed a bag and hopped on a bus in to the city where she stayed until Sunday with her Dad. She took a bus home to us and got ready for school on Monday. This went like clockwork each week with little variance. In hindsight, I see now  how lucky I had it. She was an extremely easy foster child, but with her being my first I had no idea that this was the case. Boy was I in for a shock, hundreds of shocks really, for my future as a foster parent. Those are stories for later blogs though! She occasionally lied or caught an attitude or had trouble in school, but nothing outrageous. I remember being so angry at times thinking she was really giving me a hard time. Remember, I had two small children and here was a “troubled” teenager living in my home and I was supposed to know what to do to correct the issues and help to get her back home more able to cope with her day-to-day life than she had previously. The biggest thing she ever did actually amuses me today. She wanted to show me that she could do what she wanted and was in control of her own life ( understandable). Apparently, she got a wild notion to pierce her bottom lip in school. Now I don’t mean the kind of lip piercings you see today. Oh hell no! She put a big ass hoop earring directly in the center of her bottom lip! It swelled up and turned purple and the nurse called to notify me of her attempt at calling the shots. If I recall correctly she came through the door with it still in. I looked at it, told her to take it out and sent her to her room. She complied with only a small amount of anger and resistance. I talked with her later that evening explaining why this was not a great idea and that maybe there were other ways to express herself. I wondered for the next several days why I got off so easy and why there wasn’t a bigger blow out over this piercing. Was I simply a phenomenal foster parent who had a way with getting through to these kids?! That must be it! Uuuhhh…nope. As it turns out, she was in so much pain from jamming an unclean hoop through her lip that it was killing her. She was dying to take it out! So much for me having a knack for dealing with “”troubled”  teens. Well, my first child was only with me for 7 months. I suppose I should be mad at her for not breaking me in better. Ha! She really was a great kid. I still keep in touch with her and though she has her struggles she seems to be doing well. She probably should have remained with me longer, but the “system” doesn’t always make sense. Some times parents get their kids back with little or no effort. However, I do feel that her family had good intentions and loved and do love her very much. In later blogs, as I stated earlier, I will get in to the “rude awakening”of foster parenting! No, it is not all bad, but boy are there stories to tell!







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