Who gets to say they started their fostering experience with flashlights? We do! Sit back and let me tell you about our Day 1; it was the day we first met J and T, way back in July 2012. It seems like a lifetime ago but at the same time, just a few moments.
The boys came to us from an out-of-state kinship placement, giving us a few days to prepare. Most foster parents only get a few hours notice at most. It remember that it was a hot summer day. We barely slept the night before and our house had never been so clean. The social worker called to say they had arrived a few hours early and asked us to come to the office as soon as we could.
If you’ve met our boys, you’ll know what I mean I say we loved them when we heard them. We heard them in the vestibule of the social services office. The social worker opens the door to the visit room and there they are — wide open. J and T are playing (loosely defined) Hi-Ho Cherry-O and Candyland. They give us a quick hi and ask us to jump in and they didn’t stop talking.
We played Monopoly with them (well, sorta…) during a joint visit with their biological mom, who reassured them we are safe to stay with. Afterwards, we completed paperwork and then, to our surprise, the social worker took me outside to lend us car seats. She wasn’t coming to the house as we had first thought. Soon, we loaded up a few small bags and two very hyper boys into the backseat of our car and we were off. And, on our own!
We drive out of the parking lot into a thick black cloud. Not two miles from the office, the bottom falls out. And, not only that, the wind starts blowing tree limbs and debris all over the roadway. It’s one of the worst storms I’ve ever driven in and nowhere safe to pull off.
Pulling into the neighborhood was not the homecoming we expected. After hydroplaning and getting tossed around in zero visibility through town, we find half a tree laying across the front of our townhouse.
Since we couldn’t park there, we made our way to the alley, which was filled with trash thanks to every garbage can getting knocked over by the winds. And, no electricity to boot. During a lull, we get the boys in, finally. I’ll always remember the moment the door closed. We were home. All four of us. We didn’t know for how long, but for however long, we were a family.
What a way to start this experience. But the boys loved it. We did a tour of the house with flashlights and to them, it was so cool. Thankfully our power was restored soon. We all began to play, explore and play some more.
At dinner, the boys both requested seconds. Afterwards, they asked for bath time. Catch that? They asked for it. J even asked to brush his teeth. Then, we sat down in our reading corner to read the story of David and Goliath. We told them how courageous they were in the storm and for coming to a new house, just like David.
The next morning, shortly after sunrise, the pitter-patter of feet came from across the hall and two tiny bodies leapt into our bed for the very first time. That’s when we knew life would never be the same.