Sunday, May 18, 2008

I think he's normal

which is sort of strange after you have been doing foster care for a while.

Roland and I have each tried to spend some time with him, but neither of us is really feeling like we are getting to know him. He is polite, willing to do chores, gets along with the kids, answers all of our questions and.. not the least bit clingy.

He is not wandering into the kitchen when I am cooking to offer to help and tell me how much he likes doing chores, or coming into the living room while I am grading to ask me what I am doing and try to engage me in conversation about my work. He is not trying to ensure that I attach to him. I do not feel that I am being observed, evaluated, tested.

He found my copy of Antwone Fisher on the bookcase in the rec room and has spent hours in his room reading. When I asked him to go grocery shopping with me he agreed. He was polite, engaging, and offered to run back to get something I forgot. He was pleased to pick out some of his favorite flavor of yogurt (blueberry) and an ice cream he wanted to try (vanilla with caramel and toffee). They don't buy ice cream at the home, apparently, and he ate the entire half-gallon in less than 24 hours.

I told him that I make all the kids a quilt and asked him to look at some patterns with me. He was a little uncertain about whether I meant it, but I told him I really did. It helped when I volunteered that certain of the patterns were more difficult than I wanted to tackle. He picked out a pattern and I asked if he wanted to help me pick out the fabrics, not now, but after he moved in. He said yes and seemed genuinely excited. When I said "Okay, that's all" he jumped up beaming and went to help the boys in the kitchen.

He's excited about the quilt. Well, partly about the quilt but I think mostly about the fact that I am going to make one for him.

I think he is being himself. I think he feels comfortable and safe here.

He's not paying a lot of attention to me.

And I guess that is what feels strange. The kids normally observe us, study us, try to figure out what we want, what our weaknesses are, what our limits are. They want to know us so they will know how to stay in control. They forge relationships with the boys, but like pack animals their first task is to establish a relationship with the leaders.

It makes sense. It really does. I've come to expect that.

But Gary just seems glad to be here. He takes his cues from the other boys, does what they do and acts like a kid who has lived here for years.

He was sad when he had to leave. He did not complain, but he had a grim look on his face. He came through the main room, slowing down just a little to say "well, bye, thanks" and kept on going.


  1. He sounds this is all too good to be true? I hope that he continues to be so awesome!

  2. I hope this isn't too weird to ask: Why do you think he's being placed with you? Given that you usually have such a different type of kid. I'm not sure I even understand why your agency is working with this particular kid. Sounds like he'd be really easy to place in a regular foster home, or even an adoptive home (unless his parental rights aren't being terminated I guess). I thought your agency worked with hard to placed kids?

    Of course, I totally understand if there's more you can't tell us about his background that would make this all obvious.

    I'm wondering if it's because you've already proven that you are a permanent family for the other boys and they are looking for something like that for him? IE, they don't want to place him in a foster family that typically says goodbye once they hit 18 or graduate high school?

    Um, just in case this comes across wrong, I think it's great that you all have found each other. I'm just trying to understand the reasons for his placement. Just curious, I guess?

  3. Wow. It sounds like he doesn't have those fences built up and those attachment fears. It's kind of weird that he seems so "normal." Good weird... but weird none-the-less.

  4. He sounds like a great kid! He really seems like the kind of kid you'd like to be around; well behaved, polite, etc..

    I'm glad that it is working off.

  5. Can I trade him for one of ours?

  6. He sounds great, I'm really glad he's going to be one of your kids! Amazing that an older kid is now younger than your oldest. Hey, it happens...


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