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 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly  by:- Judy

After making a major move with my husband Bill and son Jason, then aged 7, I promptly called the local Dept. of Social Services to advise them of our interest in getting a foster care license. It wasn't a lengthy process as we had been licensed in the previous state we lived in, so within a matter of weeks the phone rang.

It would be a challenge. Was I up to it? My heart jumped with joy at learning a home was needed for two little sisters, a two-year-old I'll call Angela and a four-month old I'll call Jessica. I was advised the baby was a "failure to thrive" infant, having gotten very little attention in her home.

Within hours my two little girls were at the front door. Angela was a bright-eyed tot with curly blond hair and the face of a cherub. Jessica was adorable with soft, dark hair adorning her tiny head. I knew nothing of the circumstances surrounding their removal from their home, other than that they were both neglected.

It was obvious right from the start that Jessica was severely lacking in stimulation. Cute as a button, in her little bassinette, but no more responsive than a baby doll dressed in a pink sleeper. After settling Angela down at the table with some juice and crackers, I held Jessica tightly to my chest, and stroked her head while talking to her softly. She offered no resistence and quietly allowed me to just rock and cuddle her.

It was never easy being a foster parent, and this time was no different. I was happy to see Angela talkative and wanting to play. She was every bit a normal child in that respect. The stresses she likely had endured at home however, were something I would never know, but knew existed. From the very first night until she was later placed in another foster home, sleeping was difficult for her. Several times a night she would cry, needing attention more than anything else. It made us wonder if she had been left alone, thus making her insecure.

Jessica, on the other hand, aside from needing a bottle during the night, quickly ate and went back to sleep. It was as if she didn't expect any attention and no longer cared if she got any. It broke my heart to see her so "distant", and I began devoting extra time to interact with her. Literally within weeks, I saw this infant begin to blossom! It was the most beautiful thing to behold! She began looking at me as I spoke to her, and rewarded me with a growing number of smiles as time went by.

Within a few months of their arrival, Angela and Jessica were very much at home in our family. Serious thoughts about adopting them were discussed between my husband and I. It was something we wanted to do. Angela couldn't have been happier with us, and little Jessica, at seven months, was now a typical playful baby, sitting up, crawling and laughing as we chased after her.

It was not long after this that I joined my son out in the driveway one summer evening, for a Pogo Stick competition. I hadn't been on one of those for years but decided it would be good exercise. Just as I reached and completed my 100th jump, however, I lost my balance and fell backwards onto the concrete, severely injuring my lower back and tailbone.

Thankfully I didn't need to be hospitalized but after x-rays and strong pain medication was issued, I was ordered on strict bed rest for the next three to four weeks. The slightest movement and I would be in the grips of the worst pain I've ever known, far worse than childbirth!

What a dilemma! My husband called the caseworker to explain what happened, knowing the girls would need to be cared for elsewhere until I could heal. I was in tears, knowing I couldn't care for them but not wanting to be separated from them. My mother flew 1500 miles down from where she lived to care for me and my son while Bill was off at work during the daytime.

Two weeks to the day of my injury, we received a phone call from the caseworker, saying things were working out just fine at the new foster home and as both girls were adjusting and bonding well....she had decided it would be best for them to remain there.

I felt like my world had crashed. I had become so attached to these little ones I could scarcely believe I was losing them. Having been a social worker when I was first out of college, I was very upset with her decision, but I had no recourse. They were not my children!

I could only be thankful that I was privileged to care for these little girls and help them feel secure. And I prayed they indeed were feeling loved and wanted in this home where they were to remain.

....................................

Twenty years later, I still think about the two "daughters" I had for a brief passage of time, and I still miss them. I can only be thankful they were mine to love and care for when they were in need. Within a year, other foster children came our way and at one point, along with my son, then 9, we had three brothers, ages 5, 7, and 8 along with two teenage girls, both aged 15. So our house was full and never boring. But in my heart, will always be a hole which could only have been filled by my little Jessica and her sister Angela.


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© Copyright 2006 Caring Hearts/Building Hope (UN: judbie46 at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Caring Hearts/Building Hope has granted Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.

 Please help build this information base, share your Fostering experiences.
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 Foster Care Experiences Contest Winner  November 06

1st Prize-Family_Portrait by Tegan_L._Elliott

2nd Prize-Interview with a Crown Ward
2nd Prize-The Good The Bad and The Ugly

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