What a beautiful weekend. I’m sitting here on Sunday night at 9:30pm out on the patio. There’s a nip in the air for Florida, which means it’s a brisk 78 degrees. I’m drinking a glass of Rodney Strong Cabernet, and just feeling so full of joy for what life has brought us.
Let me backtrack, though…..Last week was hard. Our 17 year old foster daughter ran away, and we ended up having to file a police report. I was sure she would show up the next morning, but by the 24 hour mark, Steph and I were both pretty scared. Turns out she was ok, but was ready to move on. They found her a new foster family and she was placed with them on Tuesday. Steph and I breathed, and honestly looked forward to our little family of four again. Six months of fostering a teen was hard. But that’s not was to be in store. Tuesday at 4:30pm we got a call from Family Support Services. They were following up with Monique to see if she had been placed with her new home. I said that she had. “Great!”, the lady responded. “Would you be interested in taking another placement?” “Absolutely”, I said. “Especially if it’s just one, and it’s a baby. What do you have?”. “I have a sibling group of three – a 4 year old boy, 6 year old boy, and 9 year old girl.” Crickets on the end of my line…….”Ok, let me talk with Steph.”
Steph and I had decided we were NOT going to take three children again – no way, no how. The first trio about did us in – between our own twins and them, we were so exhausted, and honestly the only reason we were able to do it was with the help of tons of our friends. I like to tell people it was a little bit like war. Our main goal was just to survive. But, the woman from placement said that they’d have to split them up if we didn’t take them and would we be willing to just give it a try. So we said yes. We couldn’t bear to have them split up a sibling group without us at least trying…
And so our quiet little family of 4 turned into a bustling, hectic family of 7 overnight. We were going to give it a weekend to just try it out. Here are a few pics below.
So how did our weekend go? GREAT! This is a totally different experience from when we had our first set of siblings. The kids settled in really well, and we hustled to get their rooms together. Thank God for Facebook – I made one post, and we had an outpouring of support from people offering clothes, beds, a dresser, gift cards. It was amazing. We spent lots of time Wednesday through Friday getting things organized. Then, on Saturday we took them out to Mellow Mushroom for pizza and then watched the River City Pride Parade. After that, we went to the park. We basically were able to do all of the things that we normally do with our twins – just with a much bigger posse! I do have to admit, at one point I had to see what it would cost to put them all in Kid’s Park – the local drop-in child care center, if we ended up keeping them and needed to have time to ourselves. I can’t stand the thought of being tied down to our home, the way we were when we had our first sibling group of foster children. Steph and I love to be on the go, visiting parks, restaurants, events…you name it, we want to be there! So, just in case, I looked it up. $14 an hour for us to be able to have freedom if we needed it. SOLD. I know that sounds awful, but I couldn’t go into this knowing that we might have to be tied down to our house on the weekends. Plus, we needed a way to be able to spend time with just the boys.
So, that was Saturday, Today – Sunday – was amazing. We took all of the kids to a friend’s birthday party. It was at a park, and we were actually able to keep up with all five of them! It wasn’t easy and I’m not sure I ever finished a sentence with an adult, but we did it! We arrived with five children and left with five children – SCORE! After the party, we brought our new foster children to another family to stay with for the week. This had been pre-arranged because we’re going out of town on vacation this week. Once they were safely at their new place, Steph and I spent some time with just the boys. We went to the new Fresh Market that just opened this week, and then to the River City Pride festival, where we got a sweet picture taken of our little family. Not a bad pic for being in our 40s and taking care of 5 kids all weekend!
After that, we went to an event called “Picnic at the Park”, where neighborhood families meet up in local parks once a month for a big community picnic. I had a fabulous time —- the perfect bookend to a great weekend getting to know our new foster kids. At one point, someone that I had just met asked me how many children we had. I had to count. 1, 2, 3…4, 5, 6…..7! Yes, 7! Ophelia, Dakota, August, Liam, L, B, and C. That’s a big brood. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
******Below is a post I made on Facebook a few nights ago. It sums up our first few days:
Update on our foster kids – they’re doing GREAT! And the Buckman-Shaar family of 7 is doing great, too! This is night three. We are beyond grateful for everything that we’ve received for them. They came with one small backpack each and nothing else. We’ve been given tons of beautiful clothes, a dresser, a fancy daybed with trundle, back packs, sweet little pillows, gift cards, mattresses, books, brand new underwear, brand new socks, shoes, and more. And it keeps coming!! It’s so awesome you just want to cry. We had all this stuff before, but sent it all home with Briq, Teagan and Zarek when they were reunified with their mom, because they didn’t have much.
L is almost ten and is the caregiver of the trio. She is in awe of our house, and has decided we’re foreign. She LOVES her new room. They were all living in a motel room before this so she is happy as a clam in her “princess bed”, which is a daybed with fluffy pink bedding. She told us that being a foster child is pretty neat and that she hopes her mom and dad let her come stay with us whenever they need to go out of town. She wants us to take her camping. L loves plain pasta and chicken nuggets and HATES broccoli. She said it’s the best thing in the world to have foster brothers and sisters. She walks around the house carrying Liam on her hip. Liam loves her and calls out “L….? Where are you????” and then races to find her. She’s very protective of her brothers. I heard her say to her brothers yesterday in the car “You know boys that mom and dad sent us away so that we would be safe. So it’s ok. We’re safe.”
B is almost 6. He’s a sensitive little guy. He’s in kindergarten. He loves games and he plays independently. He and his brother both love the rollercoaster that we have on the patio. They have gone down it about 3 million times. He has played with pretty much every toy we own all over the house. I found him tonight up in the boys’ nursery, playing with forgotten toys that we had in a basket in the corner. B loves hamburgers and also HATES broccoli.
C just turned 4. He’s the little guy, but is almost as big as B. I try to hoist him on my hip and about wrench my back, he’s so big! Last night he was teary a bit and said, “What are we doing tomorrow?” I said, “Well, I’m going to take you to school and then I’ll pick you up again like I did yesterday and come here.” “Ok, but can that be the last night here? Can we go home after that?” Broke my heart I just told him “Soon sweetheart.” C love Thomas the Tank Engine. He loves to climb and if I can’t find him, then I have to look up, and he’s somewhere dangling – off the stairs, standing on a chair, up a doorway, etc. C loves spaghetti and LOVES broccoli.
It’s 10:15 and all five are down for the night. Hoping the weekend is good to us as we all continue to get to know each other.*******************
That’s all I‘ve got for tonight. Looking forward to a great week ahead! And looking forward to calling their case worker on Monday and saying that WE CAN DO THIS!!