Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lesson Learned: Seeing a Former Foster Kid in Public

We went to a pool as a family and were swimming around when I saw her.  A girl that reminded me a lot of Caterpillar's sister.  Then across the pool, I saw a man holding a baby.  Caterpillar.

I had heard from his caseworker that he did end up in a home where he could be with his sister like the agency hoped.  I told her to pass on our information to that family, and that we would be happy to talk with them or do respite sometime.  I hadn't heard anything further.

I went to B, stumbling over my words with excitement.  Without really talking about it, he knew I wanted him to go up and introduce himself.  I kind of hovered nearby, imagining he would wave me over and I'd have a joyful little reunion with Caterpillar.  Well, we totally freaked out the foster dad and his body language showed he didn't really want to talk with us.  So, we backed off.

Our kids kept ending up playing near each other, though, so inevitably later we were close by each other.  I apologized for the awkwardness and he said he was just really worried about confidentiality, so being asked if he was the foster dad made him really uncomfortable.  Of course.  We had a little small talk about hair, how long we'd fostered, and I got to smile at Caterpillar a bit.  My arms longed to hold him and bring him closer, but clearly this was not the situation to be pushy. 

So, in the future, I would start with, "Hi, I'm a foster parent, and I recognized Caterpillar because he used to live in our home!"  No questions to be answered, just immediately making ourselves clear.

And yes, it was so, so good to see him.

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