A week and a half ago our Resource Family Consultant called us about a placement: A 3 year old girl, seven months younger than our daughter, who had been taken into custody and was on her way to The Christmas Box House until a foster family could be found for her. Our RFC passed on as much info as she had for me including the fact that this little girl had already been in foster care previously- as a toddler- and then had been returned to her mother’s care. Her bio mom is no longer around so she has been in the care of her father. Unfortunately, while under her father’s care, she found her way back into the system.
When our RFC first told me this little girl’s name on the phone I repeated it back to make sure I heard her correctly. It’s not that I had never heard it before- just not as a name. When I addressed her I would have to consciously think “Wait a minute- her name is what again?” because it’s so unique and I kept wanting to call her “Precious” or “Princess” until I would remember her actual name. Incidentally, my husband said the very same thing- “I keep thinking her name is ‘Precious’”. Hence, I will refer to her on this blog as “Precious”. It’s as unique as her real name and as corny or trite as it sounds, it’s a good reminder that all God’s children are precious in his sight.
A couple of hours after receiving the call from our Resource Family Consultant (and as soon as my husband got home from work) we installed our extra car seat into the car and headed up to the Christmas Box House to meet our fifth foster placement. Our daughter was excited about the prospect of “babysitting” again- especially since this time it would be a girl her own age. However, one of the concerns my husband and I both shared about this placement is the possible conflict between two young children of the same gender so close in age. We were also unsure of the extent of behavior and emotional problems this little girl might have, and we were a little nervous that any of those possible behaviors might rub off on our sensitive, impressionable, and somewhat sheltered daughter.
We explained these concerns to our caseworker who told us that Precious could stay with us as an “emergency placement” until a permanent foster family could be found for her. It’s much better for children in foster care- especially the youngest ones- to be placed in a home environment as soon as possible after being removed from their home rather than an “institutionalized” setting- or so the research has shown. Additionally, protocol is that all efforts should be made to place children in a family within 24 hours, which is why we had to decide so quickly if we were open to taking her. I didn’t like the thought of a three year old girl spending the weekend at The Christmas Box House- as great as their staff may be- rather than being in a “home”- especially when I considered one of the trainings I attended last month by a transitional therapist who sees first-hand the effects of removals and transitions on children.
A couple of hours after receiving a phone call we suddenly found ourselves with another child in our home. I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to that part of fostering- it’s a surreal experience. And so began our week with Precious.