Sunday, May 11, 2008

Reflections on the first home visit

My whole approach with Gary has been different than it was with the other boys. I'm feeling comfortable with it. I don't know if it is better or worse. Part of it is because he is between Andrew and Brian in age.

I'm not making major efforts to get to know him or bond with him. I'm treating him more like he is one of the boys' friends come for a sleep-over. I warned him that if he didn't tell me when he was hungry he would probably starve, that he was welcome to help himself to anything in the kitchen, and then I sort of stayed out of his way. I've been wanting to make him feel comfortable with us, to know what our family is like. I have wanted to avoid the whole awkward blind-date feeling of the first home visit.

I realize I've been treating him more the way Roland treats the kids.

Our interactions have all been positive. I asked him at dinner last night if he had any questions for us. First he said no and then he said that he did. It sounded like it was going to be very important but it turned out to be something like, "Where do you keep the towels?" It made me laugh. I told him when he left today that there are a lot of people involved in the decision about where he was going to live, but that I was going to see if he could come back next weekend and that right now I didn't see any reason why he wouldn't be moving in when school was out.

I think it was good that Evan was here this afternoon. They played video games together for a while. When they got hungry Evan helped him find everything to make a sandwich. Though Gary has been insisting that he doesn't eat much, his sandwich was just as big as Evan's. I think poor Gary had to catch up on some missing calories from the past few meals. It's sad really -- Gary was apparently afraid that if he ate too much we wouldn't want him.

Anyway, Gary got to see me and Evan tease each other. Evan told me that I didn't have the right sandwich meat. I said, "Heh! That's free food you got there, buddy. A little more gratitude and a little less whining." He had some sort of come-back, but I don't remember. Besides, this is my blog and I get to end all the conversations with me having the last word if I want to. Later I reminded Evan to put a plate in the dish washer. "I was going to do it!" "When? After I yelled at you?" "Maybe."

Anyway, all of this was done with humor on both sides, and Gary got to see it.

More importantly though he just got to see that this is still Evan's home. He is twenty, finished with one year of college, looking for a place to rent with his co-workers, and coming back here to live until he does. This is his home and we are his family.

I think it is going to be a while before I get to know Gary. Partly because though I think he is a really nice kid, he is trying to be extra good for us. He is careful not to eat too much, volunteers to help with whatever work anyone is doing, never gets tired of playing with Brian. I'm sure the real Gary is a pretty cool kid, but I think it will be a while before he feels safe coming out into the open.

1 comment:

  1. He really sounds like a great kid. And most of all, he would be able to be with a family who will let him blossom.


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