Monday, October 15, 2007

All The Filing in The World Can't Beat A Clothing Label


If you want your nephew to have your phone number in a few years, even if he goes into a variety of residential care settings, write it inside his coat. People may, for his own protection, take away an address book. They may black out contact information from the letters you send. A couple of years later when he asks if he could have your number his social worker may say he would sure like to help, but he hasn't been around very long and he can't find it in the file.

But maybe, when your nephew finally makes it out of residential treatment and group homes and goes back into an ordinary foster home, they will take the rest of his possessions out of storage for him. He will toss them in the closet and pay little attention, but one cold autumn day he just might pull out that nice warm coat you got him.

And he might notice that sewn-in label that says "Frankie: 102-555-1234" and shout with glee and say, "That's my aunt's number!" Mistakenly thinking his foster mother would want to take it away from him he might also say, "And you can't touch it because its a down coat and you're allergic to feathers!"

Auntie was very pleased to hear from him. Early in the phone call he said, "It's okay if I talk to you. I can only write letters to my dad, but I can talk to you. Mom says so." "No, not my real mom. I mean Yondalla. She's a special foster mother that I really trust. Sure you can talk to her!"

Auntie told me what a good boy Frankie was. I agreed. We also agreed that sometimes life was tough for him and frustration got the better of him, but he wasn't the kind of kid to break rules just to break them. She said, "I think a lot of his problems are because ... [snip] ... I think he's been looking for a mother figure he can trust for a long time."

He got to talk to his cousin too. He said that he really likes Star Wars things and did Cousin remember when they used to play with light "savers"? Cousin said no, but I bet later he will figure out what a light "saver" is and remember.

Auntie gave him the phone number for the other Auntie and for Grandma. Other Auntie gave him the number for a grown up cousin. He called them all. He only had to leave a message for one.

He is so pleased.

I am pleased for him. I know that sometimes the extended family has as many problems as the immediate family, but I think in this case there is an excellent chance that these aunts will be healthy contacts for him.


  1. i am so happy for him. we all need to have some piece of family to hold on to if it is at all possible.

  2. Oh, what happy news. Thanks for sharing it.

    First I thought that you were talking about Evan, and I was worried that something went very wrong very fast. Was so relieved that this was about Frankie's past, not Evan's present.

  3. hooray hooray!!!

    I get so excited over that. It doesn't matter how many loving new/second family members a kid gets, nothing replaces the original fam with all the memories before the "bad stuff happened" *Sigh*

    I think I've become a Frankie addict. It just all seems inherently positive, even the negative stuff.

    Either you have a great outlook, or a great sense of humor, or simply are an excellent writer, because normally I leave foster care blogs feeling depressed and sad, and I leave this one laughing 9 times out of 10.

    Thank you. I need that.

  4. :::::crack::::
    That is the sound of my heart breaking when I read this:"I think he's been looking for a mother figure he can trust for a long time".
    And to think, God chose you for that job for now. He really is a lucky, lucky boy.

  5. I am glad that he found his coat. I'm pleased for all of you.

  6. Awww, I'm so glad the coat resurfaced , too. What a great night for all of you!!!

  7. That is just awesome. What a smart Aunt. I'm so glad that he has a positive contact!


  8. Yay for Frankie!! This story makes me feel all warm and fuzzy...and that doesn't happen often.

  9. What a great idea to do - inside a coat that is sure to be used at some point. I'm happy for Frankie to have contact with his Aunt's/cousins.

    What an honor to you to be the Mom he can look up to and trust.


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