I want to tell you about our first foster daughter, Little Lady....
On a Friday afternoon in mid March, I got our first call for a placement. It was for 2 baby girls, I was told they were 5 months and a year, if I am remembering correctly. I do remember the ages had to be an estimate because it did not "add up" to possible. Anyway, those were the ages I was told. I remember when I got the call I kept hearing ducks. I had set my ring tone to ducks for the agency and it did not register in my brain that was who was calling. As soon as I realised, I ran to the bathroom (I was at work and we were not supposed to have phones on us) and answered. I got all the info, said yes, and started trying to get in touch with my husband. Well in the meantime, the girls went to stay with someone in their own county. I was very sad for the loss of two babies I never had.
I was also pretty pissed that I might have lost this placement because I was too preoccupied at work to listen for my phone to ring. The next day I gave my two week notice.
Turns out I did not work the entire two weeks. Everyone who mattered understood that I might be quitting at a moments notice....from the day I agreed to come in to talk to the Executive Director (who was a long time friend, ex boss of mine)....but I still wanted to give the courtesy of notice.
Anyway....as I sat playing BINGO on a chilly Wednesday afternoon, I heard ducks again. I answered the phone RIGHT THERE at the BINGO table. Since I was playing BINGO with a group of Alzheimer's residents I knew they might get agitated if I continued to chat on the phone. A hospice nurse came over and continued the game for me. She knew what was going on. The agency was calling to ask if I could care for a little 5 month old baby girl and a 3 year old little girl sibling group. They had a brother, too, but he was to go elsewhere since I was not opened to older children. This really made me sad but I decided right off to stick to the decision my husband and I made when we started this journey. I agreed to care for the girls and they were to arrive later that evening.
I left my job right then and there. I went to Walmart to get things for the 3 year old since we were not really set up for a 3 year old. As I pulled into the parking lot, I got a call from our agency letting me know the 5 month old, who we started referring to as "Little Lady" would be coming but her sister was going to the same home as her brother. I was a little sad but I understood that she was older and would most likely need her brother at that time.
"Little Lady" arrived later that night. She was bundled up in a Hello Kitty blanket and did not seem to know anything was happening. Her brother and sister came in as the CPS worker dropped her off. Their CASA was with them. I did not expect to meet them. They were so well behaved and I did not expect that, either. Not even crying. I am sure the older kids were scared. The big brother was 7, so old enough to know what was going on but young enough to be scared. He was so brave.
Even though I was going to be caring for Little Lady, I asked if I could hold her. Now, looking back, how odd was that? She was the sweetest chubby cheeked little baby. Dark hair, dark eyes, perfection.
The CPS worker filled me in on the case, which I can not go into here. Of course she said the goal was reunification, it is always the goal. She did say that grandparents wanted her to live with them but they failed the home study....but there was a court date in the next week and the judge could grant them placement of the children.
I expected a long process but the CPS worker was in and out in under half an hour. I am sure it was shorter than that but I know it was not longer. I just had to sign a few papers and I was left with a beautiful baby girl.
When everything quietened down I changed her into some comfy clothes and fed her. I was amazed how she slept thru the night. I also think that might have been the only night she slept thru. She must have been exhausted.
Over the next few days everyone came to visit and meet our Little Lady. She was so precious.
Also, over the next few days, we learned more about her case, mostly from CASA. CASA can be a wealth of info, GET ON THEIR GOOD SIDE!!!! They are volunteers and are advocates for the children. We learned that, yes, the grandparents failed their home study but only because of something minor that happened like 30 years ago. They were good people. Grandpa took the little boy fishing, Grandma cooked with the little girl....they were their family. In my heart I knew we were not Little Lady's family.
I loved her and cared for her with all of my heart. I grew attached to her. She had her moments, like any 5 month old, but over all she was a very easy and happy baby. What a welcome into being Foster Parents. We took her everywhere with us...even to see the Easter Bunny. She went on date night with us....and to Krazy Krystal's house. I loved holding her and feeding her every night, even waking up with her to eat and to watch the lullaby video on Youtube. (if you have babies, you MUST watch this....helps them sleep!!!!)
She stayed with us for 2 weeks. When she left I was very sad....but only for me....well for my entire family as we all loved her....I was happy for her. She was going to live with her family. Not only her grandparents but her big brother and sister, too. I still have very sad moments when I think of her. I cry often when I think about her. She is about 9 months old now. I know she must be crawling and eating some yummy baby food....has a few teeth. I also know she is happy when she is around her big brother and sister as she always lit up when they would visit with their CASA worker. She will always be our first foster daughter and I pray and wish for her a happy life.