Monday, March 27, 2006

Not home alone

I wrote this last evening (Monday) but was interrupted by a phone call and did not get back to it.


I was looking forward to 4 days of time alone. I did have things planned: a dinner with a friend; a long phone call with my sponser; finally catching up on my grading; possibly an emotional breakdown; whatever I wanted. I was really looking forward to the emotional breakdown.

I just got a call from a friend who is a foster parent. I'll call her Mandy. She takes teenage girls in the Challenge program. These are girls who have need a high level of care for some sort of behavioral reason. They are chronic runaways or recovering addicts name it. It is a level of care I could not provide. Every door inside the house has a keyed lock. Everything in the house that could possibly be dangerous (razors, kitchen knives, cleaning products) are kept locked in one room. Mandy is really good at running a very structured house. There is a clear system of earned privileges. She doesn't hold grudges. The girls act out, they loose privileges until they earn them back. Most of the girls are pretty motivated. Technically kids are only supposed to be there for 6 months, but some do better there than they have anywhere else and so they stay for a year or two.

They can't go anywhere as a family. There is always at least one girl who will use any public outing as an opportunity to act out. So the only way they can cope with this life is to take regular breaks. I do respite care for them about four times a year. She usually sets things up months in advance.

She also only gives me the easiest of her girls, who are typically also the long-term kids. I end up building a relationship with one or two over the course of a couple of years. I am just about always "auntie" to someone. Right now I am auntie to two girls: Miss E and Georgia. Miss E and I have failed to bond. I get along with her okay. She is not difficult while here, but we just don't connect. Georgia though I have always got along with very well.

Mandy just called. There was an edge in her voice...the sort of sound that is there when you are just barely holding on to sanity.

"Can you take Georgia for a couple of days?"

"You mean starting now."


So much communicated a couple of words. We talked for a little bit. I told her my schedule and asked how much I could leave Georgia alone. We worked it out.

So much for my scheduled emotional breakdown.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments will be open for a little while, then I will be shutting them off. The blog will stay, but I do not want either to moderate comments or leave the blog available to spammers.