I got to meet my new cousins yesterday. It was really pretty exciting. I’ve seen pictures and had about a hundred conversations about them, even heard them talking in the background, but yesterday, I got to actually play with them and even hold one of them. For once my son didn’t freak out at the sight of me holding another baby. He seemed pretty cool with it. Probably because he also had someone to play with.
My aunt, who is 40 something, seemed thrilled to be able to sit down on the couch and not run after her kids for a few minutes. In all fairness, getting two at once is a little hard. Especially when they are already 15 months and 3 years old.
My aunt and uncle are fostering to adopt. It’s been a bit of a whirlwhind for them. They found out about the brother and sister about mid-February. They’ve been on the foster care list for several months now, but I think my aunt had sort of put it at the back of her mind. Within a few days, they were planning their first visit to meet the kids. There were several short visits, then an overnight, then a weekend visit. Within a month, they were bringing their new kids home.
It’s been a big adjustment. My aunt is currently off work to spend time with the kids. Luckily her job is pretty flexible and they are letting her have up to three months off. I think she’s only going to take about a month, but I know she’ll need every second of it. The kids have only been at her house for two weeks now, but I’m happy to report that it already looks like a kiddy tornado has hit it. Toys are everywhere! It’s comforting to know it’s not just me.
The kids are very sweet. The little girl (15 months) is a darling! She has the prettiest red hair and these gorgeous pale blue eyes. She even kind of looks like my uncle, which is odd. The boy (3 years) has blond hair and the same pale blue eyes. It’s amazing to me how sweet they both are, especially considering what they’ve already been through in their short lives. They’ve been in the system for over a year now–since the baby was 6 weeks old. Luckily they spent most of that time with the same lady. She obviously loved them and took pretty good care of them (although all of their clothes are like two sizes too small). But before they came to her, they were seriously neglected.
Now, I don’t understand why in the world anyone would go the trouble (and yes, it is a fair bit of trouble, getting fat, nausea, swollen bits, random pains, constantly sleepy, irritable, hormones raging…and that’s not even the birth or recovery part) only to abuse or neglect their child. It’s so easy to either not get pregnant or at least not have a baby, that people who abuse their children are complete mysteries to me. I believe there is a special place in hell for child abusers.
These sweet little kids were left for hours on end in their cribs and swings while their parents got high and did God knows what. Thankfully a doctor was paying good attention and noticed that the baby had only gained 4 ounces in 6 weeks (on average, babies are supposed to gain between 6 ounces and a pound a week for the first few weeks–they triple their birth weight by one). He sicked DCFS on the family and the kids were promptly taken away.
Thankfully they were not given back for any period of time. In fact, the parents haven’t had any contact with them in about a year now and their hearing to terminate parental rights is coming up this month. The damage doesn’t seem to be too severe. The little boy is a bit behind developmentally (he walks fine, but still is awkward with some of his climbing–he doesn’t know any of his letters, stuff like that) and has some problems with loud noises (and overstimulation in general). The baby girl, who is DARLING, can’t walk yet, but I’m not sure if that’s a developmental issue or an emotional one (wanting people to hold her and cuddle her). Either way, my aunt and uncle have their work cut out for them.
Still, just watching the three kids play yesterday, I couldn’t help but think about just how resiliant kids really are. Even with all they’ve been through, they were laughing and playing and having a great time. They seemed every bit as silly (and willful) as my own son, who is a bit spoiled and showered with love and attention. They are really lucky little kids. My family may have its flaws and quirks (a LOT of them), but we always come together and really love each other. Even though they’ve had a rough start, they are going to find out very quickly what it’s like to be really loved.
Plus, now I get to buy adorable clothes and toys for a little girl. Score!