The Day I Ran over our Picnic Basket

Foster Parenting

and also realized I failed to save an almost complete blog post on Therapeutic Play.

It’s been a day that just hasn’t gone smoothly in a week that already doesn’t have enough margin. Our homeschool day consisted of not getting anything done followed by not getting anything done and is know being met with not getting anything done.

This month marks the longest we’ve had a foster placement. Our little guy has been with us for seven months. Almost every month since May we’ve had the same conversation. “No new information.” “Waiting on the ICPC”  “He’s doing awesome!” “Thanks for all your hard work.” “No new information. Sorry. Just waiting on…”

It’s been a lot of waiting.

Usually, it’s a lot of waiting followed by a whole lot of something. This week I had a few crazy emails- what I can only guess is the start up of a new storm. One was a request for DNA testing as soon as possible. The other was letting me know our resource worker is transferring and we were getting someone new. Could we meet with them this week?

“Of course! Oh, we know her. Great. See you guys soon.”

The thing with our particular county is that they pair you up with a case worker but also with what they call a resource worker. They help you navigate the system. Make sure you have the right paperwork and resources. Respite care and community. They have your back when stuff gets hard. Help you transition when kids come and go. They are AWESOME. We’ve had our worker from almost the beginning. She walked with us through quite a lot. She’s watched our kids grow and our hearts hurt and tossed us as many books as we could about loving and caring for the kids in our home- biological or not.

I didn’t realized quite how sad I was about her transferring. I put it in a box and closed the lid.

I think I’ve also done that with our current placement. He’s been with us for so long, for so much of his life, that it seems weird to get shuffled off for a DNA test. To have to schedule time to meet biological family. To be printing pictures off at Walgreens to put in a book. To send email updates on how he is doing.

I forgot.

I forgot the messiness and the unknowns and the hurt of people moving around. Before I start rumors, our little guy isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. 

I’m sure you are curious about the picnic basket. We met with some friends for a nature walk this morning. We all woke up late and breakfast was scattered and I was scattered. We were supposed to work on school for an hour or so and we just didn’t make it. We got turned around checking out a new place. There were ants all over the blankets. Kids were falling into the lake (ok, not really, but almost). We decided to call it and go get lunch. A nice county Sheriff said hi to the kids. I buckled everyone up. Checked my phone. Pulled out of the parking spot. And heard a crash. My tire was stuck on something. I saw the sheriff come up to my window and tell me to move my car forward. Great. What the hell did I hit? “Ms, I think you just hit your basket. It’s right here. Have a good day.”

There it was. Our new to us, treasured, antique, picnic basket. The one I had imagined us carrying through all sorts of adventures for years to come. The one that I paid a pretty penny for. Crushed to pieces. In one forgetful moment.

I picked it all up. Did my best to not punch out the window and we drove away to meet our friends for lunch.

I didn’t realize quite how much I needed that lunch. We didn’t talk about anything in particular. The kids didn’t really learn anything all that new on our adventure. They played games and ate pizza and we all left a little bit better off than before.

I wish I could find a connection between the picnic basket and our week fostering. Something profound and wonderful and beautiful.

But it’s just a basket. A basket does not make all the wonderful memories. Community does.  Having one particularly wonderful worker does not completely ground us in our work as foster parents. Community does. You, the reader, our family and friends ground us. How long with have a placement or the ease of their case does not make or break our foster care experience. Community will though. Simple lunches in the middle of the week. Text messages that ramble on. Jokes about Maury and DNA tests on top of a mountain. Community. Community that gives you the margin to open the lids back up.

It’s just a scattered busy week without a lot of margin.

And that’s ok.

Thanks for having our backs.

And I promise I’ll get that totally awesome post on Therapeutic Play up super soon. You’re going to love it. 

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