Well, my last post about Ambiguous Loss triggered a whole new train of thought about my experiences as a Foster /Adoptive Parent for the State of Iowa. I talked with Tammy this afternoon and she thought I should begin blogging about my experiences. She thinks that people would want to know some of the other things I’ve done in my life besides date online. After giving it about fifteen minutes of thought.. (okay, I did have a phone call in there too) I decided to give it a try. Let me know if you’d like to hear more.
It was in October 2001 that I was thinking about things I wanted to do with my life. (Yeah, I think about it a lot) I had always wanted to be a foster parent. But I got busy raising my own kids and that dream was set aside. I had my hands full with the three kids I had. With one daughter in college and two sons in high school I began to have more free time. Time maybe for a dream or two. So with this most recent thought in my mind, I opened the patio door and walked out into the field where my husband (I was still married at the time) was combining soy beans. Now I’m pretty certain that after hours and hours of combining beans on a dusty fall afternoon, he was all ready to hear about one of my ideas. I know he was just waiting for me to come out there and discuss a life changing adventure.
But true to form as he rounded the corner at the end of the field, saw me walking toward him. He knows this means I need to talk now. Of course the brownies I had in my hand for him had nothing to do with it. As he slowed the combine to a halt the following dust cloud swallowed him up momentarily. When it cleared I walked toward him with my brownie hand extended.
“I brought a little afternoon chocolate to get you through.” I coaxed.
“Thanks?” He cocked his head just a bit knowing that this was more than simply a brownie expedition.
I smiled as I began, “Ya know.. I’ve always wanted to do foster care. And I just got the fall community ed schedule from the college. And they’re doing the foster parent classes right in Mason City. They don’t start til December, can we sign up?”
He was enjoying those brownies. But between bites, he muttered, “Are you nuts?”
I just smiled, because of course I am.. but that’s beside the point. I tipped my head slightly as I looked at him with my big blue eyes.. “Please?” I asked.
“I dont’ think so and I gotta get this field done before it gets dark.”
He handed me the napkin and with a quick hug he climbed back inside the combine. He smiled and waved as he turned the steering wheel. Dust began swirling again behind him as I walked up the path toward the house. I have dinner and Plan B to make.
Dinner was one of his favorites. Tatertot Casserole. The kids don’t care for it because it has mixed vegetables in it. But I decided they were all big enough to pick out what they don’t like. There’s a method to my madness. Planned craziness. There’s a little sign on the bulletin board in the office at work that says “Blessed are the cracked, for it is they who let in the light.” I began singing to myself.. ‘This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.’ I took my beaming little self into the bedroom where my husband was settling down with the newspaper. I had of course put the college community-ed classes flyer back into the newspaper. With the page open to the appropriate classes that I had highlighted in pink, of course. (Well, you gotta be able to see what you’re looking at!) (FYI.. I’m really not this evil anymore.. I promise.) Now my husband would scan the newspaper from front to back. He never missed a single word of the paper. I’m using all of the tools in my little pink apron to get another chance at this.
As he reads the paper, he’ll comment about so and so, or did you hear about… I went into our bathroom and began washing my face and doing my night skin care. But every now and then, I’d throw out a comment or two in order to show my interest. The whole time wondering when he’d get to the good part. It was taking him F-O-R-E-V-E-R.
I already had my nightgown on and was pulling down the comforter on the bed when he got to the flyer. So I sat next to him on the bed. That’s when he tossed the flyer on the same pile the grocery ads were in. Not to be discouraged, I began humming ‘this little light of mine…’
I slid over close to him on the bed.. crinkling the newspaper. Then with all the seriousness I could summon, I asked,
“Why don’t you wanna do foster care? You used to have your nephews here all the time. They’d just hang out with you and think you were so cool. They all wanted to be like you when they were little. (It’s true.. they did) Foster care is just like that. We let some kids come here while the social workers help the parents get things worked out. Then they go back home.”
I couldn’t have guessed his answer.
“You know I don’t like classes and I’m not gonna stand up and talk in front of people, you know I hate that.”
(I can work with this.. I really can.)
I explained that these classes aren’t like regular college classes. There aren’t any speeches to make or reports to do. There isn’t a thesis or a final exam. I continued cause my light was still shining, ” A few film strips and a worksheet and they send us on our way.”
Within ten minutes I was online registering for the December classes. Whoo-Hoo we’re gonna be foster parents!