Foster Care Mom Recalls The First Time She Got “The Call”

woman talking on phone about new foster care placementThe licensing process was completed. Nursery decorated in a non-gender-specific jungle theme, ready to welcome a child into my home. The closet full of diapers, clothes, toys, books, and stuffed animals… I think I am ready, is what I told myself.

May 15: The Call Comes In

I decided to attend an extended family outing to the movies. Pitch Perfect 2 was playing. As we sat to watch the previews I notice that my phone was vibrating. The caller ID showed the number from the placement department of the agency. I quickly answer as I rush outside to talk freely. “Hello, my name is Jessica and I am calling you with a new placement opportunity”. My heart began to beat faster as I am overly excited for my first placement. “We have a little girl, who is 3. She is Caucasian and from what we can tell there aren’t any major medical or developmental concerns.” I thought to myself that she fits into the age group I prefer and could most definitely attend daycare while I went to work. I quickly agree to take her in.

Then I asked if there were any siblings or family members around, I would like to make sure she stays in contact if possible. “Yes, she has a younger sister. She is 11 months old”. I asked if she was removed as well, which Jessica confirmed to be true. Jessica knew my preference was one child, so she only mentioned the older one. However, knowing how close my family is and how much I cherish my relationship with my siblings I made an exception and decided to take her too. What’s one more right?!

After the movie I went to pick up the girls, they weren’t ready for pick up until about 11 pm. The older sibling (we can call her Abby) was obviously younger than I was told and the younger sibling (we can call her Chloe) was noticeably developmentally behind. Abby ran to my car without a care in the world. She was dressed in a torn-up sundress with tennis shoes that she probably outgrew last year, and in a diaper so she’s not potty trained. Chloe was in a flannel sleeper (in May in Florida!) and appeared emotionless. They were both placed into my car and I took all the paperwork from the investigator. She thanked me for coming to pick them up since it helped with the process immensely. We were off to the house, for the first time.

As I drove home thoughts were running through my mind: Will they like it there? Am I in for a long night? Will they be allergic to the dog? Will they like the dog? These were only a few of the questions rolling around.

We arrived at the house. Abby, still without any fear, ran to the front door and waited for her sister and me to get there. It was like we had been doing this for years. I get them inside and turn on the lights in the living room. Abby runs around in excitement and claims the toddler bed as her own, I guess she knew what it was… maybe she had one too? She found a dog toy on the floor and handed it to me “Here mommy”. My heart skipped a beat. Should she be calling me mommy already? Makes me wonder what type of environment these two are used to… they must be tossed from home to home to already be so comfortable!

Chloe laid in her carrier as if that was the world she knew. No emotions - just stared. I changed her into new pajamas and noticed a scar from the top of her sternum to the end. It was obvious she has had some sort of heart surgery. I looked into her folder to see that she had congenital corrective heart surgery. I called the investigator, but she only knew that information. To her knowledge, there wasn’t anything for me to worry about. OK, I had to trust her. I made Chloe a bottle and held her until she fell asleep. I placed her into the crib with anticipation of being woken up in a few hours. Abby took a little longer to fall asleep, but she slept in the toddler bed (in the same room as her sister). This was our first night.

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