Friday, January 10, 2003

The Goodbye Party

1/10/03—Goodbye party at the Foster Home. FM said that Makala would not be able to have any ice cream because she had not eaten her dinner. We sat in the tiny manufactured home with tiny little bedrooms and 8 children all together living in the home. We had been aware that once a baby turned one year that child could no longer sleep in the parent's bedroom. It was so clear that baby Jeremiah had a healthy attachment to his foster mother and by the time the Goodbye party came along foster mom was distant and possessive of him.

I could so much understand but, it made it so difficult to be part of. The foster family invited all the families from their church. It was a little difficult for Andrew being a Catholic and it was not much easier for me being a Southern Baptist. Their church was just a little more Charismatics than either one of us were really wanting to be involved. Andrew actually did very well and thankfully I had spent a good deal of time involved in a youth group and singing with Rene' at a church of the same denomination while in high school.

There were at least another 30 people gathered inside the tiny little home or box as if felt. Andrew and I did have a real hard time dealing with the small space and spent some time making sure we had everything.

The foster family showed us the so-called gifts that had been donated to Makala for Christmas. It consisted of a bike that was about as too big as the size of clothes the foster mothers said Makala wore. It was so big I think Tori and my oldest son could ride double on it. And then there was the Barbie Roller Skates which would have been nice if they were Not two sizes too small already.

I hate to sound bitter about the things that were donated by well-meaning people who only wanted to make a difference for a child in Foster Care, but I am sure none of the donors would have thought that the specific requests would cause a little girl to get basically nothing from Santa. People should know that when they give to children in Foster Care sometimes the foster parents don't bother to make sure they are the most appropriate gifts... and really that does seem like a simple thing to expect.

Then everyone had fun with a little Polaroid Sticker Cameras and took pictures and placed them in little books. Each person signed a good wish for Makala in her book and Jeremiah in his... They were very nicely made and cute.

All of the children including at least another 10 or more from the Church were given Ice Cream except for Makala. Foster Mom ‘sort of’ gloated to "Makala" that she didn’t get any because she didn't eat her dinner as she should have, but Jeremiah did. I was very upset by how I watched her treat Makala and really didn't like the way the foster mother made me feel. I can't imagine what it had been like for the past nearly year and was so relieved that Makala would be getting away from there.

As the party wound down the foster family explained that they were emotionally devastated and that they didn't feel it was going to be healthy to see the baby for at least a year. It was clear that our families will very different and we were not likely all going to be friends. We had such a hard time dealing with the fact they decided to foster for the money and told us so. That foster mom was not planning to want to adopt and they tried to say the only reason they were not able was that they didn't get the correct home study done.

We left feeling sort of like we had taken another woman’s baby. We decided that there was a lot of emotion and that it would be better to NOT have contact with the Foster Family after the children left. It seemed right not only for the adults involved but, for Makala too. There was no reason that a child should be treated so badly on the night of her own Goodbye party. Really there was no reason she shouldn't get ice cream really.

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