On Thursday morning I dropped TT and Bart off at camp at 8:30am. I then had many, many hours to kill until it was time to pick them back up. Initially I was going to strap Daisy on my back and wander through some shops. I was going to bring her in the bucket or stroller and sit somewhere quaint and drink a cup of coffee.
I was not going to try and lug TWO babies all over the island without owning a double stroller.
I'm all for wearing a baby. But neither of mine will stay "worn" if all I'm doing is sitting. So it didn't make much sense to strap one on me just to walk across a parking lot.
Instead I opted for the, "Come on Wispy. Follow me Wispy. Here, take my hand. Come on Wispy!" approach while I pushed Daisy in the stroller.
Have I mentioned that Wispy is at least 6-9 months behind with his speech/language skills and that he rarely responds to his name? And he doesn't like to hold hands? And he won't follow anyone anywhere?
Maybe I should have strapped him up in the mei tai.
So here was my Thursday morning:
- Drive up and down the island a little
- Stop at Whataburger and get a snack
- Go to WalMart
- Go back to the island and go over by the beach
- Watch the babies both fall asleep in the car
- Sit in said air conditioned car while they slept
- Get out and go to the bathroom on at a pavilion area on the beach
- Stare at the car just across the parking lot and weigh out how bad it would be to drag both kids back to the car just to get some toys to play with
- Decide that toys are overrated and sit in the pavilion doing nothing
- Take the cherubs out to lunch
I lugged the two cherubs in to the restaurant. (No easy feat.) We got seated. And Wispy started wailing again.
I handed Wispy his HotWheel. He wasn't interested. So I picked him up and cuddled him. Deep down I knew this wasn't just a normal fit. He had a certain exhaustion in his voice when he cried. It was more like, "Do we really have to be here? Do I really have to be with you?"
The waitress was awesome! I gave her a look of defeat and she simply smiled and said, "You're fine. Don't worry about it. I've got one of my own. I understand."
She was a young little thing. Early 20's but looked about 16 with a cute braid of blond hair with pink and blue stripes in it.
Over Wispy's cries she asked me, "What can I bring you?"
I answered, "A cup of milk."
"And for you?"
"Thank you! I'd like a Diet Coke."
"Do you need any snacks or anything?"
I motioned to the baby food and the toys and said no.
As she walked away, without thinking it through, I said, "He's having a rough day. I'm his third mommy and he's only known me for 13 days."
"Adoption?" she asked.
She came back with the milk and poured it in to the sippy cups for both babies. She sat down at the table and proceeded to tell me a story that gave me goosebumps.
It was on the east coast. Her mom had gone "kid shopping" on the state website. She had read all the profiles and picked a kid. Roy was his name. But when she applied to be considered to adopt him, the mom was told Roy already had a home.
I don't know how much actual fostering she did but the waitress said her mom was licensed for emergency care too. One day she got a call and by that evening a 14 year old boy was on her doorstep in typical foster care fashion with all his belongings in a trash bag. He was on so much medication that it would have knocked out a 300 pound man. He had been in 26 placements over the course of his life.
Her mom looked at this boy and asked said, "Hey? Is your favorite rapper Lil' Wayne?"
He answered, "Yes".
She proceeded to go through questions like knowing his favorite food, and sports teams and things like that.
Finally he looked at her and said, "Woman?! How do you know all this?"
She answered, "Because I wanted you several months ago but they told me you already had a home."
He's off a lot of the medication - down 2/3 from what he was on when he came. He can walk again (he has mild CP). He can talk and have conversations. And he's never had to move to a new home again.
This waitress loved on me and my babies the whole meal. She even took Wispy for a walk outside to see the parrots. She was kind, considerate and a soothing balm to my soul that afternoon.
So often it seems I'm caught up in all the ugly of foster care. So much keeps going wrong in my stories. Ricky shouldn't be in Care. Daisy is starting semi-supervised visits at home for 18 hours a week (three six-hour visits). Daisy is probably going to go home.
But there is good in foster care. There really is. A 14 year old boy in New Jersey can tell you all about how his story ended. And according to his sister, it's a pretty good ending.