We've now had 6 foster children. Two are still with us. We've also had 5 "Almost Children". These are children they call us to take, we say yes, then another placement is found. There are various reasons, but usually because they've found a closer placement. Since we don't foster with the county, our kids can come from anywhere. That can make weekly visits difficult, and costly for the county who might have to provide transportation to visits.
The first "almost child" was 3 days old. A newborn! I was really excited. I'm baby crazy. We were really crazy because when we said yes we still had our 3 year old and newly turned 1 year old. We said yes anyway. He wasn't even named. We weren't sure if we were supposed to name him or if he would eventually have a name from his birth mom. Our biological kids are Cole and Cori, so our son wanted to continue the pattern and call him Cai, short for Mordecai. I could get on board with Cai, but Mordecai? I don't think so. I ran around getting the house ready, trying to figure out what we were going to do about another crib. He was coming at 3:00 pm. And then he wasn't coming at all. We were so strangely disappointed.
Then next time it happened was a set of siblings. The little girl was 3 and the baby boy was 5 months. Their names both started with M. M&M. She was not yet speaking and he was given a label of failure to thrive. I was a little scared, but hoped we could help them. This case was back and forth for a day or so. The limited space in our house was a problem. Once a child is 4, they can no longer share a room with a child of a different gender, even if it is their biological sibling, and there was a possibility this could be a long term placement. So many rules. They eventually found another home for them. My husband advocated for them - even with the problems, but they didn't come.
After that we accepted placement for our now 2 year old. That same day they called us about a 4 month old boy. We said yes. Baby? YES! They were coming the same day. It was a Thursday and I had an after school meeting. I didn't hear much in the meeting. After the meeting I started my scramble to get ready for new kids. Then the call came. The baby wasn't coming and our 2 year old was coming the next day. What a roller coaster of emotions. Later that night they ended up bringing us a 5 month old girl, and our big guy did come the next day.
Our most recent Almost Child happened today. We were asked about a 6 year old boy. I was really hesitant. We have 2, plus our own, in a very small house. They couldn't find another placement, so we couldn't say no. Well, we could have, but we didn't. He was going to come this coming Monday. Lots of thoughts running through my mind. How will we arrange the room? I don't really have an extra dresser. Our son is moving back from college next week. Then, once again, they found another placement. This time I felt like it was an answer to prayer. I was unsure this time. I prayed for another placement if this wasn't a good fit for us, or if we were overextending ourselves. That was a quick answer. Still, I know his name and I know some of his story. I wonder where he is going. Praying they will love him.
I guess we'll have lots more Almost Children. You'd think by now we would learn, but I had already told a bunch of people about our new guy. Then had to change my story. Until they are here it's never a for sure thing. It's hard to explain, but once you've heard their names and know their story, they capture a piece of your heart. I don't even know what they look like, but for a moment, after we said yes, they were our children...almost.