All things considered, my family is doing well. Shari is working and getting excellent grades in her independent study program. Lea adjusted to middle school and has two really good friends; one even came with a mother who is a friend for me. Mona is busy enough with the 4th grade and her friends that she forgets to torment Ivy. Ivy is happier having a calmer house and she adores Shari. Billy has a boyfriend.
It’s not at all surprising Billy has a boyfriend. She is fun, enthusiastic and compassionate. Billy has been my daughter for eighteen months and we will never forget one another, but right now, home and family life is not her priority. Billy starts staying out all night and when I put the brakes on the overnighters, she announces that she is moving in with her boyfriend and his family. I accept it easily. We part on good terms, I like her boyfriend and his mother and I wish her the best. Sometimes, as young adults launch into independence, or whatever is close, I am satisfied if I can get a gently closed door as opposed to a door slammed shut.
Sheila replaces Billy as Shari’s roommate. Sheila has a large family close by, but they are frequently in serious trouble, she stays out of trouble only if she is separated from her family. One day, Sheila wants to babysit a niece and nephew; a two year old girl and three year old boy, children of two of her sisters. I cannot let her go to her sister’s house. I let her baby-sit at my house. Sheila’s mother and sister come later to pick up the babies. I learn of terrible things happening at Sheila’s familiy’s house, I hear of a fight and a shooting. I cannot keep Sheila away from her family, she moves out soon after her arrival.
One night, while my family consists of Shari, Ivy, Lea, Mona and me, Sheila’s mother calls and wants to know if she can bring the two year old girl to my house for a few hours. I am afraid for this baby and I tell her she can bring the baby. The baby is brought to my house, I discover she has a broken arm and she is officially placed in my home as a foster child. Her arm was broken because the grandmother wanted to take her from her mother for safety. Mother and daughter kept pulling the baby away from the other until her arm broke.
Prior to this incident, I did not accept very young children. Teenage girls can be willfull and challenging, but because of their age, they don’t stay long. Teenage girls talk to me and take care of themselves and leave mostly always because they choose to. Teenage girls are not carried away screaming “Mommy!” One day, soon after I become “Nina’s” mother, I am at a counseling office with Shari; Billy’s counselor, Carla, walks by me as this tiny, cute little girl with a full arm cast is hanging on my leg. “What is this? I thought you didn’t accept toddlers?" I give her a summarized version of Nina’s situation. Carla says; “You have to adopt her, you can keep her out of foster care.”