We have our annual
paperwork blizzard foster license renewal coming up really soon. I’m fairly sure that at this point, I could write the whole darn renewal packet over again from memory. It has all the things that we have to keep track of during the year, from fire drills to animal vaccinations to med logs to placement history. It isn’t hard of course, because it’s pretty rare that I don’t have all my documentation in place.
What always gets me the most is the placement history. I go through and record on their form the names and ages of all the kids we’ve had come through our doors in the past year, and it’s always a trip down memory lane. It’s very bittersweet to bring each kid’s face to mind because there are so many of them that I don’t know where they are or how they are doing. I just sit back and pray that God’s got a hand on them, and that their time with us had a positive effect.
There are always those that we DO keep in contact with, of course. ML is over pretty much every week, and we get weekend visits with T once every two months or so. We also get updates every now and then on kids like N.E. that we’ve had for respite. The thing is, if I’m being entirely truthful, sometimes keeping in contact is completely exhausting. It hurts to miss a kid and be reminded regularly that I didn’t have the resources to care for them the way they needed. It hurts to have a kid ask straight out to come back to us and to have to look into their eyes and tell them no.
We do it as much as we can though, and keep track of every kid we can, because we have seen the effect it has on a kid to be thrown out and forgotten by someone they have lived with for months or years. The family that T lived with before he came to us did that to him. They dropped him off with his worker without telling him he was leaving for good, or why, and then refused to even talk to him on the phone. Despite living with them for a year, in T’s world, they just vanished. And let me tell you, that MESSED HIM UP. He cried because he missed his foster brother (they were so close). He cried because he never got to say goodbye to his school friends. He cried because he missed their dog. There wasn’t even any closure, one day he had them and the next day they were gone without warning.
Moving from family to family is traumatic enough without losing the entire relationship in the process. So, as much as it sucks, we’ll just continue to keep track of our kids and keep contact where we can. I don’t know if it makes all that much of a difference in the life of a kid who keeps moving and struggling and hurting, but I like to think that it mitigates just a little bit of the damage that is done.