An older foster couple were going on vacation, and would we be interested in doing respite care? (Taking care of their foster children until they got back). They had a 3 year old boy and his 4 month old baby sister. We immediately said yes. In March of 2008, we brought these two little darlings into our home. I will call them Peter Pan and Princess. That made 5 children for us, and it was a bit crazy for the first week. Big Daddy was working the night shift again, and he slept all day, so Big Mama was on her own! Little Big Man had a very hard time adjusting to Peter Pan. After all, he was used to being the baby boy in the house. He didn't want to share his toys and wasn't very nice to Peter Pan. Princess was up 2-3 times a night and didn't sleep much during the day. About this time, the caseworker called us to say that the bio parents were not following their plan, and Peter Pan and Tinkerbell would need a more permanent placement. Would we be interested? Big Daddy and I had to think long and hard about this. We already loved these children, but Little Big Man really concerned me with his reaction to Peter Pan. After discussion and prayer, we decided we wanted to keep these children, and if the time came, give them a forever family. We would pray for God to help Little Big Man adjust and felt in time he would.
Three weeks went by and we got another call from the agency. Peter Pan and Princess had an older sister, age 4, who had been living with a grandmother who no longer wanted her. Would we take her? We immediately said yes. We got a firsthand look into the psyche of a child who has just been removed from a bio family environment, even though it was with grandparents. The caseworker brought Princess to us that afternoon. She arrived with a big blue beat up suitcase and a garbage full of her belongings. She had clothes and some books, but that was it. She was excited to see her brother and sister, but she shook from head to toe and didn't stop until bedtime. I took her to our room we had decorated for a little girl. "Are you my Mommy? Is this my room? Is that my closet? Am I going back to my Grandma's?" The questions didn't stop. This little girl had a lot on her mind and she wanted to get it out. I was glad to listen. I found out her Grandma and Grandpa told her she was bad and didn't want her anymore. They told her there was no Santa Claus, but they did give her a baby doll for Christmas that Grandma promptly threw in the garbage when she was a "bad girl". I sang to this little sweetheart and stroked her head, and cried in the dark as I listened to her heartbreaking story. She knew entirely too much about alcohol and relationships of adults for a 4 year old. When I sang the ABC's, she thought she had heard the ABC song on TV one time, and she didn't know who the Easter Bunny was. I was up with her til about 3:30AM when she finally fell asleep.
The ncxt day, the caseworker called again. She told us there was actually ANOTHER sibling- an 18 month old brother, Baby Boy, who was living with an Aunt about an hour away. She had spoken to the Aunt that morning and told her the situation with the children. The Aunt decided she wanted to have the older sister and Peter Pan come live with her. She had children of her own, however, and a full-time job and felt she couldn't take little Princess. The caseworker felt this was best for the older sister and Peter Pan because they were the two oldest and had lived together with their parents and knew the Aunt and would do well with her and their baby brother. We were a bit taken aback at the sudden decision, but trusted our caseworker's judgment, and did see the bond that the older sister and Peter Pan had. The agency's job is to place the children with family when they can, and we respected that decision. We took the two older children to be with their Aunt the next day, again meeting in a parking lot halfway to her house. The older sister didn't understand what was happening. I kept trying to tell her that she was going to live with her Aunt so and so, but she didn't remember and didn't want to go. She wanted to stay with us. That was heart wrenching. However, when we did finally meet the Aunt, Princess did indeed remember her, and was smiling and happy. That put our minds at ease, and off they went.Which left us with little Princess, a baby girl we had so longed to have. To read more about our journey with little Princess, please visit Part III Little Princess.