Granny and The Tiny Girl
I brace myself for my mother’s response to my announcement of my latest foster child. She will be shocked, angry and and fearful. She must be the first to know; I let her rant and rave and I wait for her to finish. I need her to do something for me; to go to the second hand store and assemble a wardrobe for a 2 year old girl with a full arm cast for twenty dollars or less. My mother wants to look at our little girl first.
She looks her over as though selecting a Christmas tree. Nina, (the 2 year old girl) sits at the juvenile table I pulled out of the garage. She has stayed in the little chair at this table since it was put down for her. My mother walks around Nina, she bends down to look at her face, chewing on her lip, silently ruminating and planning, Nina sits still, intuitively posturing for this examination. “She is a pretty thing; it shouldn’t be too hard to set her up. I will do what I can”; my mother says. She leaves without saying another word.
Manipulation of the people who care for me is what I do. I prefer to call it “management”. Taking in a battered toddler is a huge undertaking; I cannot pull this one off alone. My mother is not the silent type. She is the first to share her opinion, regardless of the consequences. My hope is; that my mother, like me, will not turn away. It is time for faith and trust. My mother (Granny) soon returns. The big girls, Lea, Ivy and Mona go to her car, eager to examine Nina’s new wardrobe. There are pajamas, pants, shirts, a soft fuzzy blanket, and 2 new outfits from the local department store. The big girls are completely engaged in this outfitting. There are no complaints regarding the fact that every item is for Nina. Granny and the girls are happily examining the clothes and checking to insure that the items fit over the arm cast. Nina giggles happily at every exclamation and I know that for now, my family accepts my new baby.
Nina has become, since the hospital discharge and police intervention, my official foster child, and is placed in my home under police protection and a 48hr emergency placement pending official processing. A foster child is a ward of the court and that status accompanies an endless list of rules and regulations that we must abide by. The first is the requirement that I cannot share my bed with a foster child for obvious reasons. Nina can sleep in my bedroom because she is not yet three years old, but she must have her own bed. My beds are full; Nina is 28 months old, but there are many gaps in her development and she really needs a crib for her own safety. My parents have a crib stored in their attic and now my father (Granddad) joins our process and soon Nina has her very own bed in my room.
In the following weeks and months; I become aware of the process foster children endure as they become foster children. Nina and I go through this together. There are invasive physical exams, injections, and psychological evaluations. Depending on the circumstances, there are bonding assessments and family visits. I have always maintained regular contact with birth parents and this connection is almost always a benefit to the child. I cannot express too much that birth parents who have lost their children are not monsters. Birth parents love their children. Given a different time or circumstance, someone like me should have intervened and made a difference a generation earlier.