I come from a big family. I am the youngest of six, and then some. From time to time, and in no particular order, I’ve written about my siblings. There are a few entries that I haven’t gotten to yet, and in the spirit of Foster Fridays over at Don’t We Look Alike?, I’m going to write about a little girl named A.
My family had just moved from New York to West Virginia, and we children were down to two: Marji and me. My dad and mum had gone through the state licensing program to become foster parents, and they were invited to meet a little girl who had been born with some health problems and couldn’t go home. For starters, she couldn’t eat food and was fed through a g-tube (a hole was cut through her skin above her tummy, and the food she was given went straight into her stomach). She also had severe breathing problems, which were an issue because her parents were smokers and had a couple of german shepherds. Her parents decided that they didn’t want to quit their habit or get rid of the dogs, and so the only solution was for this fragile girl to live in another home. (It should also be mentioned A had a twin sister who was born healthy and was able to remain at home.)
Well, dad and mum drove to the hospital and were introduced to A. She was attached to so many tubes that were helping her breathe and eat. They both knew that they would be taking her home. The hospital staff was so very happy to hear this, because of all of the other prospective foster parents, my parents were the only ones who were not revulsed upon the sight of this poor girl in the condition she was in.
A came home, and she was the little baby sister I always wanted. She was loved by so many people in our neighborhood and our church, not to mention our large family! My dad was working as a truck driver at the time, and so there weren’t many men in her life. She would usually cry when held by a man, but that changed when my brother the Marine (I still need to write about him!) came home for a visit. Oh, how she loved him! and vice versa.
This little girl with strawberry-blonde hair thrived in our home. I remember when she had figured out how to swallow without choking. She also was very capable of breathing on her own in our pet-free, smoke-free home. She started to become mobile and jabber.
She was so healthy… that the state of West Virginia said that she was able to be reunited with her family. This is the goal of foster care after all. Still I was devastated the day she was removed from our home. I felt that my parents had done all of the hard work, and that she was unjustly being removed from our home. I also was scared that she wouldn’t do well. Ultimately, I felt that her parents didn’t deserve her if they would rather have dogs than a little baby.
I’ll be honest: To this day, I still don’t think that they did. I’ve come to learn some facts about her early childhood with them, and I know that she didn’t have an easy life.
Even though she was with our family so briefly, she was loved with abundance. We think of her often. She’s now a young lady in her early twenties. I wonder did she go to college, is she a hard worker, does she still like big bouncy balls? I hope that the little bit of good we did was enough.
A wasn’t the only child that my parents fostered, and someday soon I hope to write about B and C. (Seriously, those are their initials, and they lived with us in that order.)