Wednesday, February 5, 2014
The most useful part of foster training was this:
Close your eyes (doesn't work so good when you're reading this, huh?) and imagine your house. Your favorite spot in your house, your music on, your favorite meal cooking. Imagine the people and pets that live in your house. The hugs and the laughter. Imagine you sit down to eat your meal with the people that live in your house.
At the door.
Someone is here. You go to answer the door.
"Hi," the person at the door says, "here's a bag, go grab some stuff you're coming with me."
You're shocked. You have questions.
"Why me? Where are we going? How long am I going for? I don't want to leave!"
"I don't know," is the reply with a sad smile, "I'm just the people mover," and after a brief pause: "You have 5 minutes, go pack what you can put in that bag and go say bye to whoever you need to say bye to."
What would you pack?
Think about it.
Seriously. What things are most important to you?
Who would you say "bye" to first? Who would you save for last? What would you say? How tightly would you squeeze them, hoping you could hold on tight enough to stay.
Now the people-mover is saying it's time to go. You walk through that door in to the outside world, following this stranger.
You look back to the window.
Who is looking out at you? What are you feeling?
You walk slowly down to the car, the people-mover helps you in. The people-mover backs the nondescript car slowly out of your drive and too soon you are craning your neck around trying to get the last glimpse of your house, where you can see your people have moved to the front door to get a last glimpse at you. The drive is long and confusing. You can't tell where you're going - very soon none of this looks familiar.
After what feels like a whole day of driving you pull in to a neighborhood off the main road. The houses are bigger, the cars nicer, the lawns manicured. The car pulls in to a beautifully paved drive with quick dashes of chalk from a child's earlier drawing adventures.
"We're here," the people-mover says as she helps you out of the car.
You walk slowly up the walk to the front door.
What are you feeling? What questions do you have?
The door opens right as you get to it. There are strangers staring at you with huge ridiculous grins on their face.
"Hi!" they say, "we're so excited you're here! We've been waiting for you!!"
You learn you are the new mom/dad/sister/brother - whatever role you were at your old house, but now you're with this family.
Do you want to stay? Even if you're living in a nicer neighborhood with no want for anything? Would you want to return to your house right now?
You're shuffled in to this large home and your things are whisked away to your bedroom.
At first things are confusing - where do you find a new roll of toilet paper? What happens when you wake up in the middle of the night? When is meal time?
And you're often getting in to trouble for not following some mysterious rules you didn't know about.
But a couple of weeks go by, a month, a year. You figure out your role and you have a vital place in this family unit. You laugh at inside jokes, you love the traditions like surprise ice cream runs, you snuggle close with this family that you have grown to love deeply.
You're sitting at the dining room table starting on your second helping of dinner and laughing at a 4-year-old who has a huge milk mustache.
"Did someone order pizza?" you ask, and everyone laughs.
You open the front door.
It's the people mover.
"Time to come with me," the people-mover says. "Here's a bag, go fill it with what you want to bring with you, and say goodbye to whoever you need to say bye to. You're going home."
How do you feel? What questions do you have?
Nothing is straightforward in life - and least of all feelings and fostering.