Our writing informs our lives. I knew that I needed to go back and revisit this story and add-on and revise from the beginning of March, but I was too angry to. It has been one of those years in foster parenting that has been very, very difficult for our family. And yet we continue to hold on to Kelly and continue to work through our issues. Fostering a teenager through her twenties is for the strong, and especially this year I have not felt strong. But we are hers and she is ours.
“I don’t know what, but I think God is going to be asking us to do something big- that’s gonna change our lives.”
I do remember thinking that this is definitely out of character for my guy that makes sure that he is well researched before making any big decision at all. He checks the money, he checks the mood, he consults his mother, he wants me to ask my father… yep, God must really be talking loudly today for him to even be telling me this.
The next week, he came home on Tuesday and told me that he found you sitting at a table in the Media Center at school. You had wanted to let him know that you wouldn’t be able to play for him this season because they were placing you in another foster placement out of our school district. Dave knew instantly, this was it, this was the big thing and that no…she would be definitely living at our house instead.
The next week we got you set you up in Jeff’s old bedroom upstairs. Dave told you that he would paint the room whatever way you wanted. You chose ‘Pepto’ pink with stripes down one side of the wall, I didn’t like hot pink. Dave just smiled and painted away. Your clothes were moved in. I noticed you were a ‘keeper’ like me…a trunk of cheap stuffed animals and all the dresses and dried flowers from important events. You said, not to worry, that you wouldn’t get in our hair. You said you’d be off to college soon and that you were an ferociously independent type of girl.
You hung your pictures back from Jr. High…friends and more friends of every nationality, every creed.
Dave wanted to be your dad, he even looked like you. You called him ‘Papa’. You called me ‘Nanc’.
You gave your story to us, it told of the day when you thought you were going on a fun mini-trip to a hotel. You remember that you had your ‘swimmies’ on your arms when you were pulled away from your mother. You thought you were meeting a new friend in a giant building called ‘court’.
You’ve been waiting all this time to be back with your mommy. It’s been years of waiting and now you are in another placement my family…and that dream still continues to pulse inside of you.
Don’t worry sweet Kelly, “You can call me Nanc. I know you have a mom.” I want that dream to stay alive for her…but I’m fearful of all things big and little… realizing early that years in a group home and then in placements that hadn’t worked out had to have taken a toll. One day I asked you if you had any pictures of your little girl self. You said , “not a one…but you said you looked just the same only smaller.” I tried to imagine, but didn’t want to imagine, a little curly-headed girl with swimmies reaching out to a mom that was walking away.
I think we’ve come to the place eight years later that you are my girl and I am your Nanc , and I’m very happy about that. Now you have a different dreams that includes a vast array of friends and older folks that have fed into your life for many years…you hope and yearn for the day when you will be a mom, who will hold on tight and never let go….never let go…never let go.
PS because I like them….I am proud of my girl…tell your story…tell it to the world- a story of strength, of perseverance, loyalty and love.
PSS because I just can’t resist…Kelly is realizing part of her dream in June. Papa will be walking her down the aisle, to begin her new life with her best friend, Matthew. xo nanc