Last Tuesday we got the phone call that makes most foster families spin into crazy anticipation mode: “We have a placement for you, will you take her?” That evening we welcomed Lana into our home.Cute would be an understatement. Huge, quarter-sized green eyes, chubby cheeks that I want to squeeze 17 times a day, a personality that makes me want to sit down and simply chat with her for a few hours over a cup of coffee (me) and chocolate milk (Lana). Who knew a 5 year old could be so smart or that she could have such an amazing memory?
We are on day 4 of Lana’s stay with us and by day 2 she won my heart. Of course, reunification is always the goal for foster placements…and when I look in my heart, I want that for her. However, I’ll admit, that selfishly the thought of how well she fits into our family has passed through my mind on a few occasions.
As I tucked Lana into bed tonight, I reminded her that we have a busy day tomorrow: church then a dinner to celebrate a belated Mother’s Day. Her eyes filled with tears and she whispered, “When am I going to give my mom her card?” Usually, I am pretty quick on my feet. This time I had to take a deep breath and do some fast thinking.
“Well, I’m pretty sure that her card will still be there when you go home and you can give it to her and celebrate.”
How do I tell this adorable little one that she probably won’t be returning to her mom anytime soon? That her mom’s relationship choices led to Lana’s removal and that mom doesn’t seem to have any plan to have her children returned to her?
Lana isn’t expected to be with us for a long time. “Emergency respite” is what the case worker called it. “2 to 3 weeks is probably all” she said. So for the time being, I will enjoy and celebrate our time with Lana. I’ll enjoy seeing her initiate a wrestling match with my 7 year old son. I’ll enjoy seeing her beg my daughters to play “Elsa and Anna” for the 9th time today. I’ll even enjoy hearing her tattle as our baby runs away with her favorite My Little Pony. This spunky chatterbox has captured my heart and I will tearfully confess, that when the time comes for Lana to leave, this one’s gonna hurt…a lot.