Christmas break has started off nicely. I'll be honest, this is more of what I thought (hoped anyway) fostering would really be like.
When we fostered back in Iowa, we really only had one placement. (I don't count the adoption of our son. That one was just too unbelievable to count as a foster placement.) But the little two year old that lived with us for 6 months was "real" fostering. It was easy though. Amazingly easy. It hurt to say goodbye. But even that part was cushioned for me due to the fact that I was pregnant and about to have another baby in the house.
Then we got the girls.
That experience really threw me for a loop. Nothing like getting pulled into the deep end of mental illness within the first 24 hours of fostering! Those were 8 very long weeks and several more difficult weeks of healing after they left.
Now we're doing respite. Easy stuff really. Only a week. Two boys - ages 16 & 14. (They aren't related.) My heart is broken in two for these boys. As they share snippets of what they've lived through, well...my heart just breaks. I'm glad to be able to help out their foster family right now and show the kids that they can trust adults. That they are safe. That they will be taken care of. This is what I want to be a part of.
Now I'll go all random...
I'm starting to wonder what kind of therapy cameras are for foster kids. It's only happened twice now - but to me I see a pattern starting. The girls LOVED playing with my digital camera and my flip video camera. They would take picture after picture of themselves. They would simply video themselves walking around the house giving commentary on everything they saw.
The subject of my camera came up today with one of the boys. He asked if he could borrow my camera and I said yes. It was just like the girls. He immediately started walking around the house talking about everything he saw. As I rounded the corner while he was playing, without even thinking he said, "and there goes mommy".
My heart broke into about a million pieces. (I managed to keep it together though so I didn't embarrass him.)
I know almost nothing about this kid other than some paperwork that his current foster mom left when she dropped him off. He's probably been in dozens of foster homes. I know he's been hospitalized. He's been in a residential treatment center. He's got six brothers and sisters but he's not living with any of them. In fact, he has no contact at all with three of them. Parental rights have been terminated. He's placed on the "specialized" level due to all his past problems and diagnoses.
I've seen no negative behavior at all!
(I know. I know. Honeymooning. I know. I know!!)
To me he's like a seven or eight year old more than anything. He's just a little kid!!! He's been very well behaved. You can tell he really worked on some manners while in therapy. Every time I have to tell him no he responds, "I understand". (Actually, compared to the way my own cherubs have been behaving, he's a breath of fresh air.)
But this camera thing has me all interested. I think there's a connection between multiple disruptions and a lack of a past that you can hold on to and wanting to capture the place where you're at right now. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this connection other than make sure I let kids play with my camera and video recorder. I think it's healthy for them. I'm going to burn the videos he made today onto a DVD for him to take when he leaves. I'm not sure if he'll ever get to watch them, but at least I will have validated something that was important to him this week.