Wednesday, May 03, 2006

For the parents-in-waiting

When we somewhat experienced foster parents talk to the newbies, or just post in our blogs, we tend to talk about the hardest parts. We talk about the tough parts because that is what we need to talk about. We let our negative energy and anxiety spill out onto the page and we get sometimes comments and emails back with encouragement. We appreciate reading other blogs of other people's dark moments. It is not just me, we sigh. These other parents also have children who rage, who make stupid decisions, who seem determined to destroy their lives.

We also hear (some) potential and new foster parents talk about loving their kids and we inwardly cringe. Love is so not enough. Love is a language foreign to them. Of all the things we have to offer it is the one that they are least likely to accept early on.

But of course all of this is troubling for those waiting for their placements. Life in foster care can seem like one long string of raging children, interactions with police, complaints from schools, visiting rehab centers, and emancipated foster children still asking to be rescued from their disastrous decisions. Wow.

So I decided to report on the first 10 days or so since Evan has come back.

He decided to give his room a thorough cleaning. Since he is home a good chunk of the day (most of it) he has decided to be the kitchen elf. Every day when I come home the dishwasher has been run, unloaded, and re-loaded. Any dishes needing to be handwashed are in the drainer. The counters all are wiped.

He has been talking to the alternative school about getting in, walked the four blocks to the driver's bureau to pick up a book to study for the written test. He has walked to businesses within a mile of our house and filled out applications (I think about 10 so far). He found 12-step meetings and is making an effort to go.

He decided he really wanted a cell phone and spent hours researching the plans and expenses. He decided it was safer to spend more for a phone and only sign a one-year contract. He went with the company he did because "everyone" (meaning his boyfriend) has the same one and they can now talk NON-stop. He spends much of his life with a little thingy in his ear saying, "Sorry...I was answering a question my aunt asked me."

He and Andrew have been having actual civilized conversations, mostly about how to get around certain obstacles in various video games. (I said they were civilized conversations, not deep and meaningful). This is for me a cause for celebration. Neither one has come to me rolling their eyes and complaining about the other.

Evan and I had our first quarrel since he came back. It was silly, born as much from my anxiety as his obstinacy. It ended like all our quarrels do. He said, "Well you don't have to get so upset!" Given that I was not upset (as is the case the vast majority of times when he has accused me of being upset or "freaked out"), I said, "I will be as upset as I feel for as long as I feel!" (Once I started yelling, "That was NOT UPSET. THIS IS UPSET. FOR FUTURE REFERENCE, THIS IS WHAT ME ANGRY SOUNDS LIKE!") Evan, like always, said, "FINE!" Stormed off and slammed his door. I spent about 5 minutes feeling panicky that he was going to use again. It would have been longer but I heard him come out, go in the living room an laugh with Brian over a cartoon.

Last night it was Brian's turn to cook dinner. He made breakfast for dinner (his favorite), and though the eggs were cold they were fully cooked. The pancakes, for the first time, where neither burnt on the outside or gooey on the inside. He has managed to produce pancakes which were both at the same time. Several years ago I pulled Andrew and David aside and told them to please, please pretend to eat and we would sneak out and go to Wendy's while Brian was in the bath.

After dinner Evan rounded up Andrew and the girl we have on respite while her foster sister is having a baby, and they all cleaned up the kitchen. While they did, I watched Gilmore Girls with headphones because they were laughing and talking so loudly.

Every kid last night came to me and asked for their meds because they were ready to go to bed now.

We were all asleep by 10:00pm.

Not the most exciting blog post ever, but honestly, this is what life is mostly like in our home.


  1. I could have written this post! It's sometimes boring to write about the good days because they are just so boring and peaceful and wonderful.

  2. I could have too. Sometimes ordinary is a blessing.

    I have managed to accomplish gooey and burned simultaneously. Batter too thick, heat too high.

    Soggy on inside, charcoal on outside.


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