Shaken and Heartbroken
“I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is above all to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.” Leo Rosten
Alisa, my first foster child has been taken from my home to a group home. Alisa locked herself in her bedroom, lit many candles and sprayed painted the room and its contents with profanities. I feel responsible, as if I have failed this girl. My instinct tells me that Janet (her roommate) provoked her and she could not tell me about it. Janet and my ten year old bio daughter are seemingly fine. In fact they appear to be relieved that Alisa no longer lives with us. I have always appreciated Janet’s warmth toward my daughter Ivy. As soon as it is authorized, I go to visit Alisa in the group home. Alisa is very happy to see me. She wants to know if Janet is still with us and she wants to come home. Her social worker expects her to stay in the group home for a long time and I continue to visit her periodically.
Soon, another child comes to our home. It is a “temporary placement;” a seven year old girl needs a home for 30 days. Ivy and Janet welcome our new girl; Vanessa. Ivy seems happy to have a younger girl and proud to be an older sister. We go together to the grocery store and Janet observes that something in the car smells very bad, I notice it too. It’s Vanessa’s shoes. Her only shoes. We go directly to an outlet store to get Vanessa new shoes and socks. Vanessa sulks because I do not buy her “Nike’s.” I have decided that Vanessa will share Ivy’s room which Ivy is not happy about. All of Vanessa’s clothing is in a large black plastic bag which I put in the garage next to the washer and dryer. I move Alisa’s dresser into Ivy’s room for Vanessa. Vanessa fits the clothes that Ivy has just out grown perfectly and there are many of these clothes folded and ready to be moved to another dresser for another little girl. Later, after dinner, I go looking for Vanessa. She is kneeling by her dresser, holding her new clothes up to her face, inhaling deeply. Vanessa stays with us for 30 days while her bio mother obtains housing and social services. It was fun to have a little girl for a short time, Vanessa was easily pleased, but for our family situation, I felt it was better to have teenage girls who did not feel the need to compete with my birth child.