Thursday, May 24, 2012

Learning to Play the Supportive Role

I drive past their house nearly every day to drop Missy off at school. It seemed like the natural thing to do.... so I drove into their driveway and let Grandma get acquainted and cuddle with her newest grandchild. Before long the other family members have gathered in a little bunch to get a good look-see. They introduced themselves and put out a hand in greeting - cold, clammy, nervous hands. I'm jarred into realizing this is a tad weird and awkward situation. We're not strangers to grandma, but to the rest of them, it's an uncomfortable reality to see the youngest members of their relations drive up with outsiders. It kind of jerks me into realizing I'm the one that has put them on edge, but it doesn't last. Soon we are chatting away. We realize the children's uncle, their mother's kid brother, hangs out at the college as a tutor. The my girls know him. Brianna has benefited by his expertise. It's really a small world... and definitely small town.

This initiating of connection felt like the most important thing I had done all week.

The success rate of a family's recovery is dependent on many things, but one thing that is showing up in the statistics fairly consistently is that the support and involvement of the foster family in the recovering family's behalf is super important.

Just how does one go about giving that support? I see it as a tag team effort, but  it's really taken a long time to get to even meet the boy's parents. So far we've been able to interact with the Dad twice. Last night I called the number the mom wrote on the little man's records and left a message for her and my phone number. I hope that she will call me. (We're trying to arrange shipment of her mommy's milk. Seems a little daunting, but should be worth it if it can be done correctly. ) A this point the best we can do is take good care of the little ones, be as positive as possible, and let them know that we are praying for them and their family, and then pray.  We can work together with the Grandma supporting each other as we each take care of some of the kids.

Apparently the mommy thinks she offended me with an emotional and tactless comment on our first meeting, but she's dreamed it up because we just plain have not met yet. I guess it tore her up to find that the Buddy calls me Mama. Actually, he calls anyone who will give him food Mama. His vocabulary is limited, you understand.
Speaking of the Buddy, he's getting four... that's 4 new molars. He is not sleeping so well.

The little Duckling is calm, and sweet and oh, so sleepy.  Except right now, he has the hiccups and his eyes are open. He's eating well and often. We got up just as tired as we went to bed this morning. Not used to those night time feedings.

James is learning to weed whack! So exciting. He also cleaned my van for me. He trimmed a pile of radishes and has generally been a happy kid.

Missy is mostly okay. She blew a gas-git over doing a minor chore and screamed loud and out of control for about 10 minutes. She's completely in love with the baby. She wants to hold him every second and will badger continuously even while I'm talking on the phone or to other people. She loves to show him off.


Jennifer P said...

Well done. You will never regret those connections even when it is awkward yet sweet in a way.

Oldqueen44 said...

Once when Big Sis was at a home visit with her foster caregiver, I asked her to help clean up some toys she had played with, along with her brother. She said she didn't get them out. I proceeded to explain that she played with them so she might want to help clean. However, pretty much mid-discussion, foster caregiver jumps in and threatens Big Sis that if she can't help clean then they will just leave...

I was pretty ofended that Big Sis was spoken to like that when the situation was being handled by her "own" family member.

Since I like this girl who cares for our little treasure it was easy to let it go but it was offensive.

I'm sure Grandma was very blessed by your willingness to stop in. I know I would have been.