Elizabeth let us know a little bit of what went on at the placement meeting yesterday. My (probably inaccurate) understanding is that there’s a weekly meeting for the workers where each kid who’s going to need a placement ASAP is introduced. Beyond this, there are also the regular emergency placements that come in when kids are removed from their families or even more sadly from foster/adoptive families, as happened just a week ago.
Anyway, this week’s kids were 15-year-old LeeLee, who had spent the weekend on respite with us, and a six-year-old boy. The six-year-old ended up being taken off the list because he had to go to a more restrictive placement and when he comes out, he’ll probably be back in the private system again. We haven’t heard yet what decisions were made about LeeLee. We said we’d be willing to help out, but we didn’t step up to be her home.
I don’t feel as conflicted about that as I expected I would. I mean, if they come back in a week and are still looking for a home for her, we might do it. I think we could be an adequate placement, maybe even a good one. If we had a good belief that this would be a short-term situation, we’d probably do it, but the idea of spending the next three years with her is a little intimidating. We’d do it if she needed it, but we decided we weren’t going to push ourselves forward to be their first choice. Personally, I’d hope she could find a single parent home where she’d be the only child, get the attention she craves, but not be able to triangulate. And although they didn’t tell us she had any history of false abuse reports, her storytelling plus our being lesbians in a pretty conservative area left me really, really nervous about the potential for that to happen down the line.
Our worker is a big believer in families needing to click. If LeeLee had been our first placement, we probably would have said that we did click. Although we could see some of the personality quirks that would get annoying over time (and she could presumably pick up on some in us) she was pleasant, polite, easy to have around. And yet it wasn’t the same as it was with Rowan, whether because he was someone special or just because he was our first.
Rowan definitely fit, definitely clicked. I could tell from his body language that he was comfortable with us, too, and I’m glad he likes keeping in touch with us (especially now that the team he hassles Lee about has been knocked out of the big tournament and he’s going to be crowing about it next time we talk!) I think that comfort was one aspect of why he found it difficult to be with us, why he ran away. And so I especially want to leave open our commitment to have a place for him if possible if he ever needs it, though he’s insistent now that he won’t.
LeeLee’s about six months older than Rowan, but they both have three years of high school left, if all goes well. If we took in LeeLee, we’d be an all-girl house for the duration of her stay. Lee, who liked LeeLee a lot, seems more set than ever in her preference for boys. For me, it largely has to do with saving a place for Rowan if he ever does need it, if he can ever manage respite or something longer. The “click” goes both ways, and I think that in every way but perhaps location, we’d be the right family for him if he decided he wanted a family, which he may not. And if he does choose to go to another family in another part of the state, I don’t think I’ll be hurt by that. I’m not in any way counting on having him back, but I do want us to be his safety net if we can.
So that’s where we stand, with no placements and no request yet to take LeeLee for the weekend again. Tonight I should go hang out with my knitting group and Lee and I will take it easy and get things tidied up. I did a lot of planting yesterday and I’m hoping some of our daffodils will finally, finally bloom in the next few days. It’s spring, and as my favorite spring song tells me, “the river is rising / the birds are returning / the earth is promising / Love / (or something like that).” Yes.