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Pimping in the grocery store: how we began our foster care journey

“I’m talking BIG pimping!” He shouts, arms spread wide as if to take in the entirety of our small town grocery store. He is 17. He is Hispanic. He is my foster son, Marcus. Marcus is maybe about 97 pounds soaking wet. He has hands the size of basketballs and arms as long as an arangatang.  His arms are currently blocking all of isle 4. “No pimping in the grocery store, Marcus.” I remind him in my most school-teachery voice. 

Meanwhile, I hear a crash from isle 3. “It’s ok. I’m ok. I’ll put it back!” I hear from my 14 year old son, Sean. Like Marcus, Sean is Hispanic. Like Marcus, Sean is my foster son. Unlike Marcus, when Sean is soaking wet, he is about the size and weight of a small SUV. He also has the grace and agility of a rhinosarous. I groan inwardly and hope nothing is broken. 

Is that all that could happen at our tiny grocery store in the middle of a tiny town in the tiny state of CT? Not quite. Simultaneously my 9 year old foster son, Carl and my 8 year old foster daughter, Mary are pulling on my sleeves. “Can I please get a kitchen knife? A big one?” pleads sweet little Mary. “Please don’t buy beer! I don’t want you to get drunk!” wails Carl. 

I stand my ground and state, “No thank you. There will be no knives, no beer, and no pimping. Sean, please put Isle 3 to rights. We have a list of grocies to buy. Stay with the group!” Three little voices moan and begrudgingly echo the words, “Stay with the group, safe hands, safe feet, kind words.” 

Chickens. They are just like chickens. They run around, chase each other, forage for interesting things, and eventually return to me. There is also a LOT of squawking! Having them in public is like trying to herd chickens! I cannot think of a better term for our gaggle of children.  

Was it always this crazy? Not nearly! My husband and I were married for 6 years before we started this adventure in foster care. After licensing we were waffling between adoption and foster care. Someone recommended that we try an “adoption party” in the neiboring state of Massachusettes just to check it out. We went. We thought about taking siblings. Maybe two, we thought. Then we met Sean and that was that. He was almost 13 at the time and we just knew he was our son. Then he introduced us to his brother and sister. Later, we leaned that there was another, older, brother living in another foster home. 

We brought home the younger 3 a year ago. We’ve been visiting with Marcus all of that time and now he will be coming home this month. 

This blog is about our crazy family. It’s about our crazy journey from 2-sometimes 4 into 6-sometimes 8 people. Did I Mention I have 2 stepchildren? Seth and Catlyn? They visit on the weekends because they love my husband, Luke, and because they are very very brave. Also they apparently do not mind wherever they have to sleep. 

I’m Abigail. I’m not very tall, not very large, and not very loud. I’m a teacher. I wear cardigans. I am a very white woman married to a Puerto Rican man. 

This blog is about my journey from special education teacher and wife and part time stepmom into full fledged motherhood. It’s about being a trauma mama. It’s about surviving beaurocricy and surviving attachment issues and surviving grocery store trips like the one mentioned above. 

Please join with me as I herd these chickens into one cohesive (or almost cohesive) family. Join me into journey to adopt this amazing sibling group from foster care. I encourage anyone who has ever considered foster care to take the next step in their adventure!!

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