Monday, August 21, 2006

The FM who frightens me

When I met Carl he was living with a couple that we knew. When he told us he had been moved he was living with a tiny, terrifying woman.

Oh she is fine with the kids. I have no doubt that she is a great foster mother (for some kids), she just scares the pants off me.

I had talked with the social worker about picking up Carl and taking him shopping to pick out sheets and other boring things for his room. She said it was fine, and I thought she said that she talked to TTFM (Tiny, Terrifying, Foster Mom) to make certain the day was okay. I called Carl and we agreed on a date.

Shortly after I got a phone call from TTFM, "We do not make plans with children without talking to the parents. We work through the adults. I expect in the future that you will not make arrangements with Carl without talking to me first!" Now, I know that doesn't sound very frightening, but she was so angry. If I were in her place I would be sweet, conciliatory. I would have been saying, "It bothered me that Carl announced plans to me. In the future, would you please make a point of talking to me first?" If the other mother said, as I did to TTFM, "I did talk to the social worker first. I really thought that she had talked to you." I also would have been nicer about it.

We had to work together for six weeks while Carl lived with her and we were getting licensed. She had said that she would be happy to have Carl and I don't think she understood why the agency had decided instead to place him with the brand new, naive family (who had children who were only five and ten years old!) instead of with experienced foster parent who had been taking care of teenagers for a couple of decades. Nice Carl did not want to be "out" to her no one said, "Well, Carl is gay and you are a very conservative Christian, so we don't think it will work out."

Anyway, she scared me.

At one point I had to pick something up at her house and I made Andrew come up to the door with me. I was honest with him. I told him that she would not yell at me, for whatever I had done wrong this time, if he was standing there.

It became quite a joke among the kids. I am perceived by them to be a strong adult who can frighten others when I want to. But I was terrified of this tiny woman.

After Carl had been with us for a couple of months I was asked to pick up her daughter to take both of them to a meeting at the agency office. I called TTFM to tell her what I had been asked, and was that okay with her. She was very pleasant and said yes. Would I pick her up at the thrift store where they would both be working? I did, but I told Carl to go find the girl. I would just sit in the car and read.

I was caught up in my book and suddenly there was a loud banging on the window. I startled, turned, and there was her face, right up to the window, about six inches away from mine. I confess I screamed...well, the noise I made was really too short to be called a scream, but I never corrected Carl when he told the story...over and over again.

Anyway, she was at the training on Saturday. She was very nice to me. At some point along the way she seems to have decided that I am competent and no longer need to be ordered and corrected.

I still avoid her though.

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