Wednesday, October 2, 2013

"That's why I'm here..."

6 days after G came to live with us I got another call:

4 year old male
Currently with an "alternative caregiver".  
Caregiver went to court today and said she can no longer keep him. 
No health issues. 
No known behavior issues.
He's currently at day care. 
She wants him moved this evening.

"Will you take him?" 

I immediately thought, "Who does that?  What kind of person says they can't take care of a sweet precious 4 year old BABY and he has to be moved today! How awful!" 
(Oh how naive I was!)
 After conferring with Mark we both agreed. 
 "Of course we'll take him.  Bring him on!"

That afternoon we sat in the living room and waited for his arrival. I was so eager to meet our newest little one. We saw the car pull up..watched as he and the caseworker got out and walked toward the door...
"Awe! Look at him!  He's so cute!"
I opened the door and they walked in. He walked confidently through the door with his head held high.
 "Hi, E! Welcome to our home! We are so glad you're here!", I remember saying. 
His response was one I'll never forget...

"Hey.  My Mama does drugs...that's why I'm here."

  Insert slightly awkward silence here. 
  Rookie foster Mama alert!
  Remember, we're new at this. We only had one foster son so far..and he wasn't talking...yet. 
What do you say to a 4 year old child who says that? 
I glanced at my 20 year old daughter who had come by to meet our new arrival.   She sat with eyes wide looking at me like, "Don't look at me..I have no idea". 
 I looked to my slightly sheltered 8 year old son who looked as dumbfounded as I did.  I turned to the caseworker for help...she just shrugged her shoulders and said, "Yeah, he usually doesn't hold anything back."  Ummm, okay. I have no idea what to say.  Errr...change the subject...QUICK!
"Ok, well..would you like to see your new room?"

He came with plenty of stuff.  
Clothes, toys, etc.  He was pretty set in the stuff department.  He had a huge collection of Matchbox cars.  He loved them...and was very protective them.  He and Kobe immediately began playing with the cars while we got his stuff moved in and finished with all the paperwork and all.  Watching them play, I quickly realized he was not like any 4 year old I'd ever dealt with.  He was mature for his age in some ways.  "Street smart" I'd call it.  I had introduced myself as Valerie. He told me "I can't remember that. So I'm just gonna call you Mama." "Ok, that's fine", I told him.  But I actually was thinking that was kinda sad..him calling a stranger "Mama" as if the term was interchangeable with whomever is there meeting your needs at the moment. 

Over the next several weeks we would come to realize that he also came with a lot of other stuff.  Baggage I guess you could say.  To be such a little guy he carried some pretty heavy burdens. He had seen things no child should ever see.  Heard conversations no child should ever hear.  At 4 years of age he knew way too much about way too many things that children should never have to worry about.  A few days later the kids were sitting at the kitchen table while I made dinner plates and out of nowhere E says,

 "My Mama does drugs...that's why I'm here with ya'll."

AHA!  I'm ready for you this time buddy, I thought. 
 "I know, sweetheart", I said in my most motherly tone. "But she loves you very much and she's working really hard to do better so that you can come back home!"
BAM! Perfect answer!  Whoop Whoop!  I'm AWESOME at this! Go Val Val!

 "Nah", he says. "She lies. She ain't gonna do right. She lies all the time".  

Sighhhh....'Ummm, who's ready for dinner?"

E was with us for 7 months before going back home to his Mom. One post won't do in telling this precious boys' story. I'll tell more in other posts of his time with us. Suffice it to say right now that our faith was tested time and time again. Those 7 months were a trying time for all of us. We dealt with behaviors and issues we had never dealt with before. We dealt with a child that had experienced deep trauma that none of us had ever known and watched as that trauma played out in so many different ways in his behavior. We leaned on God and each other more than we ever had before. We saw amazing changes in E that only God could have made happen. He was loved on by us and all of our amazing friends and family. We learned more about ourselves and what we were capable of (with God's help) during those 7 months than any other time that I can think of. We are so thankful for our time with E and continue to pray for him and his family daily. Who knows? Our story with him may not be completely written. We still hear from him and his family from time to time. His Mom will text me a picture every once in a while.  The day he went home was so bittersweet.  Our sadness in him leaving us was matched with his Mom's joy at having him home.  I cried all day...I only felt the sadness that day..we had come so far together..he was doing so well with us...Why send him home now?? I just didn't just didn't make sense to me...

But God... 
God was working it out..
God was moving...shifting things around..
in ways that only He can..

You see, on the EXACT same day...almost to the same hour...that E left our house to go back to his Mom...
another child was being taken out of their home by police and DSS workers...taken away from everything they had ever known in their little 13 month long life....and another Mama was crying..uncertain on where her baby was going and who she was going to be with...devastated that she didn't know what was going to happen.....

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Valerie, this is going to really help as we start this journey with Donna and Mike! God Bless you and your family!!