A Life-Changing Phone-call
Hand over heart, I sat down on the couch in my living room feeling the pounding in my chest. It was 27 March 2017 and I had been awaiting this phone call for what seemed to be a lifetime. I answered on the first ring…
“Hello Rebekah. We have two brothers, 12 and 8, that need placement. Would you be interested?”
I sat quietly for a moment, figuring out what I was supposed to say. I wasn’t prepared for boys. My home was ready for two little girls. I had pastel colored comforters with glittery decorative pillows, pink wall décor, and ruffle-butt bathing suits. What was I going to do with boys?
“Well, I don’t have anything for boys.” I said.
“Do you think you can go get things?” she responded.
I nodded my head yes with uncertainty—then realized that she couldn’t see me.
“Umm…yes. I think so.”
“Okay, I will let the county worker know and they will be at your home tonight around 7..00pm.”
She hung up and I sat there just staring, trying to process the fact that in a matter of hours there would be two boys living in my home, under my foster care. After a moment of catching up on what had just happened—I quickly ran around undoing the beautiful girls’ space that I’d created. I pulled off the comforters and remembered the solid white comforters that I had in my storage. I quickly pulled them out and put them on the beds and removed all of the décor. Then I went to the kitchen and opened the fridge, remembering just how much food my brothers ate growing up. I decided that a trip to the grocery store was needed. I stocked up on more snacks, fruit and easy meals.
Around 7.00pm, two social workers showed up at my door with the two boys. Once they stepped foot in my house everything was a blur. There were a bunch of papers to sign, inventory of the kids’ belongings and a tour of the house. The social worker asked me if I was aware that the younger one had autism. I shook my head and said ‘no’. I searched the workers’ faces for any sort of further helpful information. Neither seemed to be moved by the fact that I didn’t have any experience with autism. They checked my fridge to ensure I had food, asked if the boys were ok and then they left. The moment felt very surreal.
I tried quickly to switch my focus from all that was required of me and to remember to consider what this experience was like for these boys. I offered them pizza and then showed them around. They put their belongings away and showered. When it was time for bed, I realized they both had tears in their eyes. Hugging them didn’t seem appropriate so I offered them some kind words.
“I know you’re both probably feeling a lot of things right now—maybe mad, or scared—but I just want you to know that everything is going to be okay and you’re safe here.”
I closed their door and went to my room. I spent the rest of the evening reading about parenting kids with autism.