Well, there’s nothing like a long sleep to help with grief.

I’m feeling a little more energized, perhaps because the house is a HUGE mess.  I suppose I should actually clean up a little of that mess before I write of directing my energy at it.  Or maybe I’m just using visualization to help me get started?

I’ve been really behind in my blog reader, so as I’ve been slowly catching up on my foster blogs, I’ve read a lot of grieving stories.  It surely does help to know I’m not the only one profoundly affected by the little ones who float in and out of our lives.

So anyway, for memory’s sake, I do want to actually get a little bit about the boys down on paper, er, screen.

Steve was 7, very very quiet, tall and gangly.  Alex was 5, more mischievous and more talkative.  He did have a speech impediment though, so I had to ask Steve to interpret a few times, as much as I tried to avoid saddling him with that ‘older brother’ responsibility.

They came from poverty, educational neglect, domestic violence, etc.  The freaky thing we learned later is that their home was less than 2 miles from ours.  We drove by it a few times and while they did notice it, they didn’t act like they missed it either.  They also hardly mentioned their mom or family.  So we made sure to avoid that route anyway, but I was very surprised by their apparent apathy towards their home and family.

The boys settled in no sweat with our kids – they played Brio trains like nobody’s business!  Seriously, would you expect two impoverished black children to know so much about Thomas?  The whole Thomas thing always struck me as very very white.  Anyway, it’s a good thing we have a huge box of tracks and trains.  They spent so many hours playing, especially on that first snow day, and I could tell it helped them feel more comfortable.

They took a few days to get comfortable with me and Husband, especially Steve.  He would lurk around the house, especially the kitchen, looking expectant.  At first, I would ask him if he needed something, which he always said yes to, and then he’d just point at what he wanted.  Often, it was candy, 🙂  (Note to self: finish the Christmas candy sitting around.)  After we’d warmed up to each other, I started ignoring that behavior and requiring him to use words to ask.  He was reluctant, but especially during our last few days together, he talked so much more.  Even his school was reporting he was expressing his feelings and talking more than he had ever before.

And the school – what a complication that might’ve been, although it turned out not to matter.  The boys’ school was about a 10 minute drive away, and I was told after accepting the placement that they would continue to attend that school because the school would provide transportation.  Now, let me say that I am lucky enough to live in one of the best districts in my area, and our elementary school is GREAT.  I was vaguely insulted that they didn’t want the boys to go to our school.

After meeting their teachers and counselors there, I can see why it might’ve been okay to keep them there.  This school showed so much compassion and caring.  The staff definitely went above and beyond what would be expected of them.  If the transportation actually had worked out, and they had stayed with us longer, I guess it would’ve been all right.

BUT the transportation promise turned out to have been a misunderstanding, so I ended up driving them to and from school every day.  Not a really big deal, but it did add 45 – 60 minutes of driving to my day.  I thought I was done with that after Mark and Nikki left!  And if they’d stayed with us?  I like to think I would’ve insisted they transfer to our school, but I know it would’ve been hard on the boys, and what if the caseworker had threatened to move them to another home in the district?  (Not that one was necessarily available, but she still could’ve threatened…)  I’m not sure how I would’ve reacted.  At some point, all that extra driving is unsustainable, but the boys really did have a loving environment at that school.

There’s a LOT more I want to write about their schooling and education, but this would turn into a truly monstrous post.  Also, I guess I really should go do some dishes and work out some of this sadness.  Before the next call comes.