Monday, March 8, 2010
The First Family Outing
Johnnie met my family for the first time this weekend. We met him and his foster family in a city halfway between our two homes, and then Johnnie joined us for lunch. I had met and visited with him several weeks ago, and we decided it was time for everyone else to meet!
Things went well. Johnnie was not quite as nervous as he was the first time I met him, but I believe he was a little anxious to not have his foster family close by. His foster mom had told him that they would be back in about two hours to pick him up, and I noticed him looking at his watch frequently.
Although Johnnie has shared with his social worker and his foster family that he is excited to be joining our family, I can only imagine how difficult all this must be for him. I’m sure when he moved in with his most current foster family, he believed it would be his last move. Unlike previous foster placements, this family spoke his language – sign language – and he finally felt like he was home. He called the foster father, DAD, and the foster mother, MOM. He spoke of his sisters, the two younger birth daughters of the foster family. He got comfortable, and was beginning to imagine a future….until things changed.
I still don’t know the whole story, but the foster dad is no longer comfortable with Johnnie in his family. I have heard things about the younger daughter having a crush on Johnnie – about Johnnie drawing inappropriate sexually-oriented pictures. But this foster family is a therapeutic foster family. They are specially trained to deal with difficult situations. And the stories I have heard are not even close to the most difficult things that often happen in foster care.
So yet again, Johnnie will move. But I will promise him that this will be his last move. I’m sure we may have some rough spots ahead. We all have a lot to learn about living peacefully together. We have routines and skills and idiosyncrasies to which we will all have to adjust. I’m hopeful the good will quickly outweigh the not-so-good, but I think we are all ready for Johnnie to come home.