Welcome back to Taylor Talks!
So far, I haven’t told anyone in my family that I’ve started this blog… I’m sure I’ll tell them soon enough (especially my mom because we’re very tight), but I want to see where I can take this before I let them in on my little project.
So today I’d like to share a memory with whoever may be reading this. I think it’s important to talk about all of the different kids you can meet when you constantly have new siblings coming into your home. If your family is just starting to do foster care, you shouldn’t be picturing the perfect infant or the perfect first grader coming into your home. No one is perfect, so why should you expect this new child to be? The truth is that while you will quickly realize that you’ll be able to love all of the children that come into your home, a lot of the children do come to you with some problems. These kids were just ripped away from the only lives they knew, so of course there are going to be some issues.
Let’s take my little brother, for example. He came to live with us just a few weeks after his second birthday. He came to us at (and I could be off by a few) 52 pounds. No one had ever taken care of my little brother, and people would just feed him to keep him quiet. Well in my family we have this rule, that we only take in children that are younger than the youngest family member. So by the time my little brother was placed with us, I was eleven & a half, my brother was a few months shy of ten, and my sister was about six & a half. We were all old enough to understand what was going on, and even my sister had a good enough grasp on what foster care was by that time. Nothing could have prepared us for our new little brother though. He was a little terror! And I do say that in the most loving way… He didn’t speak (in fact, he was placed with us because the caseworkers thought he was deaf and my mom & I knew sign language), and he just grabbed everything in the living room. Things were knocked over, and he walked around without (so we thought) hearing a word that any of us said. My siblings and I were terrified! But my mom told us to give him a chance, so we did. Within a very short period of time, we taught our new little brother how to communicate with sign language, and having a way to communicate changed his whole world. After a while, my mom realized that he wasn’t actually deaf, and then we started talking to him a lot more and teaching him how to speak as well. He was like a whole new person once he could communicate with us. Our little brother no longer terrified us, he started losing weight and stopped crashing into everything, and soon enough he was the lovable little boy that we have cherished in our family for over nine years. For his whole childhood, I felt like a second mom to my little brother. Being ten years apart was great, because I could (and did!) carry him everywhere. My dad often told me that I’d kill my back or he wouldn’t know how to walk anymore if I didn’t put him down. But none of us ever could have guessed that we’d be so completely attached to the little boy that walked into our house that first day.
I guess the lesson that I’m trying to get out with this memory is that you really can’t judge a new foster child by your first interactions with them. You don’t know what their past is like, and you don’t know what you’ll be able to teach them (and learn from them) as you welcome them into your lives.
Do you have a story about a foster sibling or child that you’d like to share? Post in the comments below, or send me a message through the Contact page!
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My family has been doing foster care since I was three years old. I'm the only biological child in my family, though I now have five permanent siblings. Having nineteen siblings over the course of my lifetime has been an incredible experience, and I'm hoping that by sharing some of the ups and downs of being the only bio kid in a foster family, other foster families or people looking into doing foster care will be able to learn a bit of what life can be like. I also like to share what life is like on my journey to becoming a published author, as well as where my schooling and career choice are taking me.