Thursday, January 03, 2008

Late Night with Evan

I sat up talking last night with Evan. Didn't get to bed until nearly 3:00am.

Not so very long ago, Evan protested when I told him that we were open to taking questioning kids, or any kids who seemed to need a safe place to figure things thought. Evan thought that wasn't right. Kids who were gay needed us, or would. In any case, there wasn't any other place that was safe like this, and we needed to be available for them.

This may have something to do with him planning on going to see his uncle next summer, or not. Maybe it has something to do with seeing Olivia here. Maybe he even had a conversation with her. In any case last night though he told me that there were lots of kids who could benefit from living here. He said that it wasn't just gay kids who needed to live in a house where it was totally okay to be who you are, where people didn't try to make you fit some mold. We were a valuable resource and we needed to be used.

He doesn't think a girl though. We just aren't a girl kind of house. But there are straight guys who would do well here.

I told him that I would be willing to consider other kids, but that the real issue is Roland. What Roland will need is to meet a kid. If he feels a connection to a kid and feels that this kid needs us then he will make the leap. Roland confirmed that this morning. He said that it was always possible that we would meet a kid through doing respite that we would decide to accept.

I told Evan that he should make himself available to meet with kids that he agency wanted to consider placing with us so that he could tell Roland about them. I shouldn't have done that. It is not Evan's job. If it were to happen without any effort of Evan's part, it would work. But he shouldn't feel at all responsible for making it happen.

We are so different from other foster homes. No one else stays empty for months like this. No one else is so picky. Of course, we have a really good record of keeping kids. As sad as I still feel about Frankie moving out, the fact that 75% of our permanent placements stayed with us and remained part of the family is impressive. Evan last night called it "adoption light." He said it was like adoption, but without all the paperwork.

And I suppose that is right. And why we are so careful. Why we have so much time between kids. We want to add kids to our family who will stay.

So, you are probably wondering if this means I am interested in taking a straight kid. I suppose so. I think I am not far from where Roland is -- if I was convinced that any kid was a good fit for us I would consider him or her. Contrary to Evan I think there are some girls who would fit in here. On the other hand, I do feel a commitment to the GLBT kids. I don't want not to have a room for one who is being bullied and has no other safe home.

I think that things are slowly getting better for them. Officially they have definitely got better. The agency now includes sexuality in their training. They tell parents that they cannot discriminate on that basis and that they can loose their license for homophobic comments/behaviors just like they could for racist ones. Unofficially, I think they are a little better. If they have a youth who is committed to a particular religion, they try hard to find a home that is at the very least not heavily involved in another one.

I think that more families are tolerant. I don't know how many families are really supportive and nurturing.

But I am not certain how many of the kids in foster care, around here anyway, are wanting that. Perhaps there was just the moment in time where the kids were further along than the adults. Now maybe the teenagers are finding just enough acceptance at school that they can come out as much as they want. Maybe they aren't demanding more from parents than the parents are willing to give.

This post may sound like I am anxious about getting another kid, but I really am not. I am receptive, but when I hear from the social workers there is still part of me that hopes they are not calling about a placement. Andrew graduates this spring. Evan still could decide to live here this summer. I could bring in another child, but I do have enough to do.

Still, talking to Evan last night brought it home to me that it has been a year.

One whole year.

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