Monday, October 09, 2006

Carl's Story 2: Transition

Our first conversations with the social worker were a little awkward. She asked if I had spoke to Carl about our interest in being his family. I said, absolutely not. When she asked why, I said because I did not want to say anything in case it might not work out.

"Why wouldn't it work out?"

I assured her that I saw no reason why it wouldn't work out from our end. I just didn't know how difficult it was to become a foster parent. What if they said that it was sweet of us to offer but that it took six months to become a foster parent.

She understood and said that she thought that was the best way to handle it. She would talk to him and see what he thought. She called later to say that he seemed a bit overwhelmed by the idea; she wasn't sure if he wanted to be with us or not. He did decide that he wanted to be with us and while we were in the licensing process he stayed with the TTFM.

We were fortunate though in that a training course was just starting. We had missed the introductory meeting, but we could start up the next week. The next six weeks were so busy. The house then had three bedrooms, but one room got too hot to sleep in and it was our office. Hubby and I had the smaller bedroom on the ground (main) floor and the boys were in the finished basement. Brian had a real bedroom; Andrew's room was just a section of the rec room that had been partitioned off with a frame 2x4's and old blankets.

The private foster care agency told us they would pay for the materials to have the make-shift partition turned into a real wall, complete with closet and door. Most of the labor was donated by members of the church, but we did have to pay for a real electrician. When it was done they family developer came to the house and told us that Carl could not have that bedroom. They had recently had some mis-conduct between a foster child and a birth child and there was no a rule prohibiting them being housed on the same floor if the foster parents were not there too.

So we gave Carl our bedroom on the main floor and moved down to the even smaller new room.

For fifteen years we had slept on a futon. A few months before all of these we had bought our first real mattress. We had no trouble getting the mattress down the stairs, but the box spring was not going. I remember standing at the top of the stairs while Hubby and his friend tried to get it down (just to prove to me that it couldn't be done) and I had an impulse to call the whole deal off. I mean, I was prepared to change a lot of things in my life, but I was really attached to my mattress and box spring.

But Carl had already moved in, so that was off.

For a while (I forget how long) Hubby and I slept on our mattress and box spring in the dining room. Carl was able to stay move in a little earlier than he might have, since we were the ones waiting for the new room to be finished. By the time Carl moved out we replaced the windows in the large bedroom upstairs. We moved back up, I got my box spring back, and Andrew and Brian got to have their own rooms. We no longer have a study. Hubby's desk is in one corner of the dining room and my home work space consists of a comfy living room chair next to a very cluttered table.

Brian's birthday party came while Carl was still living with the TTFM. We invited Carl for the birthday dinner, of course. He bought a present for Brian, a dream catcher, with money "misappropriated funds." But I did not know that then.

Throughout this Andrew and Brian were unambiguously excited. They wanted Carl to be their older brother and they wanted him to move in yesterday. They were not thrilled at the idea of sharing a room, but they were willing.

Andrew mentioned the two years of room sharing when he was recently asked what he had to give up when we became a fostering family. He said that he never resented Carl for it; he just wished his little brother did not have to be so annoying.

Part 3: things I did not know


  1. I hope everything works out.

  2. Brony...thanks for the good wishes.

    It did. Carl moved in with us in June of 2000. He graduated in May 2002 and moved from our house to Job Corps in the following autumn.

    He is now a resident caretaker at a sanctuary.

    Evan is the current boy in the house.


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