I'm a sucker for baby animals. A total sucker. My husband and I got our first dog in the middle of a fight. I did not want a pet yet. He did. We argued all the way to the shelter that he was trying to talk me into visiting. I was mad but went anyway. Sure enough, when we got there and I looked at that little ball of black fur my heart melted. We came home with a puppy.
Ten years later that puppy had to be put down. She was very sick. It made me sad. We were at a place in our lives where a new pet probably wasn't the smartest idea. I told Mr. Amazing that we should probably wait awhile before we got another dog.
There was an ad in the paper. Pure bred labs for $50 each. They didn't know which male sired the litter and they weren't going to do DNA testing - thus the incredible price. Mr. Amazing just had to go out to the farm to visit. There just happened to be this beautiful almost red colored Yellow Lab. I didn't fight with him this time. But I kept telling him "no" all the way out to the farm when he said I needed to go to at least look at the puppy.
Sure enough that red colored lab was the most beautiful puppy I'd ever seen. And then this little yellow ball of fluff climbed up in my lap and fell asleep. This time we walked away with two dogs. I just can't say no to a baby animal. I'm a total sucker!
I think I'm going to be worse when it comes to children. When we fostered in Iowa before, I never had to say no. Our first placement was our beautiful son that we adopted. Our second was a wonderful 18 month old little boy that lived with us for six months. I never had to say no.
Fast forward a few years to where we are at now. We've got a lovely five bedroom house with more square footage than we need. We are licensed for up to three children. (If we want more than that we have to put in a sprinkler system per our county's regulations.) We are currently using three of the bedrooms for our family. The extra room downstairs is designated as a guest room for when my parents and other family members come to visit. The new room that we just added is large enough for four children but will comfortably house the three we are licensed for. I thought we were set. We've just been waiting for "the phone call".
Per the regulations in place for foster children in our state (and probably many others), children of different sexes cannot share a room unless they are quite little. In my perfect world, we'll get a call needing placement for a sibling group of two or three - all boys or all girls. Everything will sound like a good fit for our family and we'll say yes.
Well, a phone call came just a couple hours ago. An emergency home was needed for a 9 year old little girl and a 7 year old little boy. Immediately my heart went out to them. They need a home. They need to be safe. Their parents were about to be arrested. I saw images of young, scared children flash through my mind. I didn't want to add to that fear. What if another family couldn't be found? I just thought we had to say yes.
With the social worker on the phone I asked Mr. Amazing if he'd be able to move some things around in the guest room to get it ready for a foster child. (The boy and the girl would not be allowed to share a room so we would have to have two bedrooms ready for children.) I know that my parents aren't going to be coming for a visit any time in the immediate future and I just couldn't say no to the children. Mr. Amazing was just that - amazing. He said of course we could move things around to take this sibling group.
So, just like that, my perfect world is all mixed up. We got started moving things around right away. I had quite the adrenalin rush going.
Then, just as fast as it came, it all ended. The social worker called back to let us know that the placement was only going to be for five days as the grandmother had been contacted and would be handling their care. I was told that our particular agency doesn't do emergency respite care like that so our services wouldn't be needed just yet.
I'm quite sure I'm going to have to practice saying the word "no". I really don't want to have foster children in the only bedroom on the main floor. It would just be too complicated. All the other bedrooms are upstairs. If the kids are older, it's too much of an invitation to leave when they aren't supposed to. If they're little, the kids are just too far away from us during the night.
The social worker said it'd be great if we kept both rooms available. She also mentioned that it's a long holiday weekend...another phone call within the next few days is quite a possibility. I'm not sure what we'll do. I'm going to practice saying "no". But...I'll keep the room ready just in case.