Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The People You Meet (in this blog)

Here is a quick introduction to the family. The kids who came to us from foster care have links so that you can read their stories in order. In some cases the posts have links to take you to the next post in the story. Often you will just need to click "new post." None of these are our real names.

Me "Yondalla": I am an educator and a mom.

Hubby/"Roland": He is an educator and a dedicated father. We tend to be complimentary personalities which works out well with the kids. Usually what one of us can't handle the other one can. When our second son was born he stayed home for three years raising him and running a home day care. (Find out why we have these pseudonyms here.)

Andrew: Our first child. He was born while we were still in graduate school and so had the odd sort of childhood you might imagine. Who ever heard of a four-year-old playing "Theseus and the Minotaur" with action figures and a maze made out of wooden blocks? When asked what he thinks about doing foster care he will express mixed feelings. It can be difficult, but he thinks it is a good thing that we do it. He is especially close to the first two who came to us.

Brian: Our second-born. He spent his early years at home in his father's home day care and does not have clear memories of life between the day care and the foster care years. In his mind, there have always been lots of people in the house. When asked what he thinks about it his response is that that is the way it is supposed to be.

Carl: Our first foster son. We met him when he was 14 and he moved in with us when he was 16. He broke us in and taught us the ropes. He graduated high school and is now 24. He continually considers going to college -- but is that because he wants to or because he figures that's what his educator parents want to hear? It does not matter. We love him whatever he does. He is the only one of the foster kids who calls us "Mom" and "Dad." His story starts here.

Ann: She is a girl who we were asked to take on as a temporary placement while a permanent solution was worked out. Ann has the most troubling past of any of the kids I know -- and the most difficult time forming attachments. She is the one that I could not reach. She has been moved to a different part of the state, into a different program and is managed by social workers with whom I have no contact. I rarely get news of her. When children are driving me crazy I think "This is the worst part." When I lost all contact with Ann, I knew that really was the worst part. Emails I wrote during her stay with us, telling the story of her placement, are on the private blog. I summarized her story here.

David: The second young man. A sweet boy who stayed with us until just after his 18th birthday. He is on his own now, trying to get his GED. From the time he moved in he referred to us as "Mom" and "Dad" but called us by our names. Start here to read his story in order.

Evan: Evan's placement started in the summer of 2005 and I started the blog in January, 2006. Since I wrote about him a great deal, there are different places you may wish to start: the story as told through emails I wrote starting from when I first learned of him in the summer of 2006; when his cousin died and we learn of his addiction; the sexcapades (this is on the private blog); emancipation planning; going to Scotland ; and when he moved back in. Currently he is attending college. He still comes here for vacations.

Frankie: Frankie moved into our home in August of 2007. He had lived in residential care facilities and group homes for several years. After just two months we and the social workers agreed that he needed to return to that level of care. He is an endearing annoying young man who holds a piece of my heart. The first post about him is here.

In addition to these we have had respite kids stay with us for varying periods of time. For one reason or another their foster parents needed anything from a weekend to two weeks away. A few are "repeat customers" who identify us as their aunt and uncle. We don't generally hear anything about them after they move on. It does not bother me though like it does with Ann. These kids are more like my students. I cared about them, but I never expected them to be a permanent part of my life

The respite girl that I wrote about the most about is Miss E.

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