Wednesday, June 21, 2006

David's Story Part 2: First Meeting


To Mary:

We got to meet David on Friday. We took Carl, Andrew and Brian who spent most of the time in another room. Robin was there to facilitate. My impression of David was that he is a pretty together guy, and not particularly interested in having parents tell him what to do. He is sixteen and no sixteen year old thinks that he needs parents (except to give them money and transportation). David though raised his brothers and is especially confident in his own judgment and not confident in others. He admitted this about himself. He makes good eye contact, better than Carl, and by the end he was smiling at me while holding eye contact. I would not have consciously noticed this sort of thing before, but it is supposed to be an indication of an ability to form genuine trusting relationships.

At the beginning of the meeting Robin talked with David about his current dilemma. He values his friends and community the most and wants a family where they are…any family. Robin however thinks we are the best family for him, and we are 25 miles away from his friend and community. I told David that I understand that he was being asked to take a risk. He may agree with Robin that the right family is the most important, but if he has to leave his friends and community he needs to be certain that it is the right family. That was why it was important for all of us to take things slowly and be certain that this was a good match. I think he really understands that it is okay to say he doesn’t want to live with us.

I gave him background about us. I told him how we became Carl’s family and that we did not intend to do this again but eventually decided that if there was the right kid we would do it. I told him that we did not consider ourselves a foster family, we were a family.

The boys came in and introduced themselves. David told them just a bit about himself. They did not have much to say, but they all gave David a decent picture of who they are. Carl was, I think, helpful. Robin reminded him that he first thought that he would rather be in The City, but stayed in Our Small Town so that he could be with us. He said that that was the right decision and now that he lives in The City he finds that it is not all that much better. He told David that we were wonderful, and that once you get into our family you don’t get back out. He also warned him that Hubby’s mother would send his pictures all over the world. Though much of what Carl was saying was phrased as warnings, he was smiling and laughing as he said it.

Anyway, I think we gave him a good picture of us. When I told you before that we were intense I did mean from the perspective of the foster kids. Their first families were often not ones with real emotional intimacy and many foster families are also not built on real relationships. Carl certainly found us to be intense. He used to complain living with us was like being assimilated into a Borg collective. We just laughed and started calling him Five of Five. Robin told me once that our family is right where it should be given that we have young children. She told Carl that we would probably be different after Andrew and Brian had been teenagers. I suppose that is right. We still do just about everything as a family though.

I felt pretty good about David. He presents challenges, but they are challenges that we can handle. It is important now for David to think about whether he wants to go any further. So we should hear from Ruby next week. (Robin did this meeting because Ruby was out of town for the week). I am feeling pretty peaceful about it. If David decides that he cannot face the idea of living in Our Small Town then he will explore other families and that is fine. If he decides that he wants to explore living here then we will start spending more time together.

David's Story Part 1: The Beginning
David's Story Part 3: Second Meeting

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