Years ago, we fostered a young boy. He was a chunky guy, who was with us for around 6 mos.
He was over a year old, and unable to crawl. He hit me with any type of emotion…happy, sad, angry…all resulted in him hitting me.
He’d been confined to strollers or car seats most of his life. Hitting was his way of getting attention. His legs had little muscle tone since he didn’t use them.
His birthmom was homeless, living in shelters. She had addiction issues. She liked her lifestyle and was unwilling to change. I think she would have allowed him to stay with me had the case continued. At 5 mos in, an out-of-stock relative stepped up to say they would take him. She agreed to immediately terminate her rights.
In the time he was here, he learned to crawl, and then take first steps. He learned to say some words, and was no longer hitting constantly. My biggest joy was he learned to give a kiss! The poor little guy didn’t know how to show this affection.
We knew our relationship with him didn’t matter if a relative came forward. Papers were processed. We begged to be able to take him. We had a trip planned to take him to Disney World, and we could drop him off in his state afterward.
I’d begun speaking to one of the relatives, but not the one who would be caring for him. We arranged a meet and greet on the way to our vacation, and then we’d bring him back after the trip. We arranged it for a month. The time came and his new caregivers weren’t there. His uncle finally showed for less than an hour as we were preparing to leave.
I had zero confidence in this situation. I spoke with his worker about my concerns, but the deal was done. This family was young, newly married, with 2 other young children. Money and payment seemed a huge concern. It also seemed that the grandmother was coaxing them into the arrangement.
At drop off, he screamed and cried, clinging to me and crying, “mama.” His new mama wouldn’t even enter the room, on her first time meeting the little boy. She stood staring from a doorway. I could tell this wasn’t meant to be. I also knew it was out of my hands. I handed him off to the new “dad” and literally ran from the house, his cried audible even outside. It was one of the hardest moments of my life.
This family ended up in divorce less than a year later. The strain of 3 kids, all under age 4 was too much. His needs were more than average. Daycare is expensive.
I still don’t know if he’s ever been officially adopted. One of his relatives continues to keep in touch. She often tells me he would have been better off staying with me. I wish he would have stayed too.
His leaving is something that really traumatized my daughter. It still does. It hurt us all.
Foster care is trauma.
I see the bigger picture now that we’ve got our 2 boys. But, I do believe I could have handled my boys along with him too.
I always tell this relative my door to this boy will forever remain open. Once a part of this family, always a part of this family.