A child’s time in foster care is like being in a cryogenic freezer. Time stops. Development slows down. Uncertainty encompasses every aspect of the child’s life. PRIDE teaches that permanency needs to be established according to the Child’s Clock. Do you remember how you felt when you’re 6th birthday was coming up? How did time feel? Time felt sooooo s l o w. Nothing could make your birthday come fast enough. Could you imagine how you would feel if you had been placed in a stranger’s home and you were waiting to find out when you could go home or if you could even go home at all? What if a worker came to your foster home and said you can’t ever go home? Beyond the devastation you’d probably be wondering where the hell you would be living. Will my foster parents let me live here? Would I have to go live with new strangers? Would I be put in a children’s shelter? What’s going to happen?
Because children spend so much time worrying about themselves, their birth parents, siblings, extended family, friends from home, and former teachers, coaches, etc., I often see very small children. Eleven year olds that look like eight year olds, four year olds who have too much shit going on to even begin to contemplate potty training, 17 year olds that can’t read.
My heart breaks for my kids.
Today was one of the first times that I could identify with that sense of uncertainty. And when I say identify, I mean that I’m in an uncertain situation, but I know that I’m going to be okay. My uncertainly barely scratches these kids’ uncertainty.
I am currently renting the lower level of a townhouse. In my area (and a lot of city areas) this is a fairly common occurrence. I’m a social worker for a nonprofit foster care/adoption agency. I don’t make much money. I can’t afford much rent. So I moved into this place on November 1st. The lady living here has 2 children and she rents the place from a realtor. She decided that she could no longer afford the place and asked the landlord to find someone to take over the lease. He told her that by tomorrow at noon he will know if he has somone to rent the place by the 1st. Of FEBRUARY! That’s next Saturday! My roomy and her kids are moving into her boyfriend’s house (probably). I’m fucked.
I have no idea where I’m living as of next Saturday. No. Fucking. Idea. **sigh** I have been so stressed out about this that I cried while looking at places on Craigslist. I did manage to set up two showings. My big issue will be coming up with first month’s rent AND deposit at the same time. I’ve never understood why the deposit has to be the same amount as a month of rent. Who has that kind of money laying around? If rent is $600 and you agree to pay that, then you can afford $600, not freaking $1200!! Just saying.
So, while my living situation is crazy uncertain, my uncertainty will be aleviated in no time. My kids, not so much. I feel for them.