Well, we moved on with life after the kids left but it just wasn’t the same. We had gotten used to having a household of five. It seemed so quiet-and our daughter seemed lonely. The kids went on to live with a great family just down the road from us-another kinship placement of sorts. Then they went back to the parents, then back to the great family, then back to the parents. The first time we saw them after they left our home, they were on an unsupervised visit with the parents. When the girl saw me, she came to me and said, “pick me up Mommy”. (We were always so amazed at the way that we were “Mommy and Daddy” and the parents were “Mom and Dad” and they kept it straight.) I picked her up and just held her tight. Her mom got so mad that she had to go to another room. We saw them ever so often but over time they forgot who I was. I told my husband that I’d rather not see them anymore because it was too painful-they remembered him and had no problem playing with our daughter (I think it was a spite thing with the parents as to why they didn’t act as if I were there and still knew my husband’s name).
A year and a half went by. We prayed for the kids’ safety because we knew that they had been back and forth with the parents and knew that it wasn’t the best of situations. I don’t even remember what day of the week it was or anything when it happened; I just remember that I had been going to walk around the high school track with a friend each evening and I was getting ready to leave. My husband was at work; he called home to tell me what was going on—the parents had been caught in a drug buy and the kids were with them. (That’s all I really say about that.) DSS wanted to know if we would take them back. I immediately said yes. This was the answer to our prayers—this is the way that God was telling us that the kids would be okay. I talked to the social worker on the phone and within 30 minutes the kids were at our home.
We were in a much better shape to take them this time. We owned our home by this time—a bigger place than the tiny two bedroom apartment we lived in when they had been with us the first time. We had a big yard to play in. I worked in the county where we lived—just a couple of minutes from home, too. We were also older and knew how things worked with DSS a little better.
The kids broke my heart when they came in the house. They were filthy and stank. Their clothes were in awful shape. They had been at daycare that day and I knew from experience that kids who have been at daycare all day aren’t going to be the cleanest kids—they’ve played all day-- but this was ridiculous! Their faces were filthy too. The trash bag full of clothes that the social worker brought stank and had to immediately be washed and gone through. They were torn and stained and mostly didn’t match. That first night, after supper and baths, the kids had a little sleepover in our daughter’s bedroom. We didn’t have enough beds for everyone. I remember staying up late washing clothes and trying to find some that matched.
We didn’t know how long the kids would be with us this time but we were ready for the journey.
The previous parts of this story can be found in archives.