Even though there is a Part III to our story (which is actually where our foster care journey started – confused yet?), it feels like we really started here, with sisters A & N. We got called for them in September 2011. They turned into our first long-term placement.
A was 2 weeks old and N was 12 months old at the time. Naturally, hubby was out of town for the week. I got called in the middle of my late afternoon class (at the time I was in grad school) and was barely able to sit through the rest of class. We’d gotten calls before where the agency ended up finding relatives to take the kids, so I wasn’t entirely sure this would pan out. I went home and started trying to figure out how to convert our crib from a toddler bed back into a crib. I frantically looked for our pack n play. I made a list of things I would likely need – diapers, bottles, wine.
Around 8 pm, I finally got confirmation that they were coming to us and I needed to go to the agency office to pick them up. I was terrified. I prayed they came with car seats. I got there and it was pouring rain. We quickly signed paperwork and I begged someone to help me install the car seats in my car (one came with the girls, one was borrowed from the agency). That’s how clueless I was – I had no idea how to install a car seat with a seatbelt and no base.
A was teeny tiny. N was confused and needed a bath. N was also in an infant seat that was WAY too small for her and reeked of smoke, as did every single item that came with them. Thankfully, there was a few days’ supply of diapers, wipes and formula. I got them home, unloaded them, and called my husband. I had no clue what to do with these tiny people. We had no bio kids and the short-term placements we'd had were toddlers and preschoolers.
By 10 pm, we were all in tears. N finally passed out in the pack n play, A fell sleep in her car seat. I called my husband, crying that I was going to return them so they could go to a family who knew what they were doing. It was not my finest hour.
Fortunately, I woke up the next day with new resolve. I called in to my (very, very supportive) internship, packed the girls in the car and proceeded to spend a small fortunate at Wal-Mart. I seriously bought ALL.THE.BABY.THINGS. Three days later, my husband came home. Two days after that, he left for another week and the girls and I all got horrendous colds. I figured if I could survive on my own, with these two little strangers, while sick, then I was probably in it for the long haul.
That haul turned out to be 13 of the best months ever. We fell deeply, deeply in love with these girls and were both heartbroken and happy for them when they left to a kinship placement out of state. We have been very fortunate to have a good relationship with their family and have stayed in touch via email and the occasional phone call. Exactly one week after they left, we got the call for Monkey and we started the process over again.