Thursday, December 16, 2010

Not what he expected

Picture a long, low white building.  Once you walk inside the front door there is a desk.  And at this desk is the lady who finds families for the kids.  Kids who don't have a family and must go stay with foster parents. Each waiting child would have their own room, with just a bed in it.

That is what Liam pictured when he thought about the foster family he stayed with.  It reminds me a bit of the orphanages that you sometimes see in Disney movies. Maybe that is where he got the idea from.

Over the years we have talked about his foster family, how they invited us into their home and lives every day for the 2 weeks that he was with them.  How his foster mom worked a 1940's period museum and would dress him up in 1940's baby clothes and let him sleep in the display pram while she worked in the kitchen.

We've told him stories about their home, how part of it is made out of bales of straw, and that one room was built around a live tree. How we sat in that room and gleaned from their years of baby knowledge on how to burp a newborn, or care for his umbilical stump.

But I guess none of it really sunk in with him.  Until last Sunday, when we had a chance to go and visit them.

Once again, they invited us into their home.  The currently have 5 children in staying with them, ranging in age from 3 to 15.  Liam walked in and made himself at home, wandering around inspecting things.  The house has changed a lot; they put on a huge addition last summer to accommodate their youngest foster child, a little girl who is blind and in a wheel chair.  But the straw room with the tree is still there.  Liam and their little boy who is 7 quickly made a bee-line for the play room and were not heard from until it was time to go.  Hilary and I got to enjoy tea and sweets and catch up on the last 8 years.

It was an interesting journey, one that we did at Liam's request.  I hope that it helps to fill some void for him, or at least gives him an accurate picture of how his first 2 weeks of life were spent.  Being held, being loved, being part of a family.

It has also brought up some other questions:  Why don't we "get" a foster child?  Are their other children with no where to go?  Why can't we help them?  Liam would very much like to have a sibling.  But I don't think that foster care is the right choice for us right now.  Maybe one day though.........

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