By Aubree Henderson, Foster Parent
One year ago, I got the phone call.
Every foster parent knows what I mean before reading any further - in the world of child welfare, your relationship with your kids usually begins with a phone call from an agency staff member, who tells you that there’s a child or children who need a home - can you take them?
This is where a seasoned foster parent asks a lot of good questions (Do they have any specialized medical needs? Any fear of dogs or cats? Is reunification close on the horizon or is the future of their case pretty unknown?). Then they might take time to think about it, might say, yes, right away. . .might say, no, we aren’t the right home right now.
This mama, though, had just been licensed 3 days before. So when I got the call at the end of a long work day about a 3 & 4 year-old sibling pair, I didn’t ask great questions. I said I needed to speak to my wife and that I'd call the worker back as soon as I could. Then I got on a train uptown to meet my wife and cried the whole way. Public crying, particularly on the subway, really is a sacred NYC experience.
Laura and I were sure when we set our age range at 5 & up (with no upper limit) that we’d be matched with older kids & teenagers/young adults, so when they called us about two little ones, it shifted my whole paradigm. This isn’t what I'd expected. My brain was sure I wasn’t ready, but somehow I wasn’t crying because I was upset - I was crying because I couldn’t process how much I wanted to say yes to these kids, to keep a brother and sister together. I knew I needed to talk to Laura first (definitely NOT a decision I could make solo) and I literally couldn’t get to her fast enough. .
Fast forward a year and the kids have finished pre-k and kindergarten, with support from some truly incredible teachers, social workers, friends, and family. This first year was HARD. There were moments at the beginning that I felt I was in WAY over my head - those are less frequent now, but they still happen. Oh how we’ve all grown in the space of a year. They are my biggest and brightest adventure yet.