I.am.exhausted. We just got home from a weekend at the Waterpark resort with The Quartet, The Fab Four, and Simon and Smiley's former foster Mom who has 6 kids currently. 14 current or former foster children, ages 1-13. (Maria had to work.)
It was a great weekend. Pretty amazing when you think about how foster care normally works. Here were all these kids with former connections to other adults and kids who got to be all together again. And the best part was they mostly got along. Mr. Mohawk and Simon looked like twins in their water wings battling the waves. Sarah and Jelly Bean were, of course, partners in crime. Stella and Gabby became pals and Smiley hung on Little Mama's every word. The big kids helped the littles and everyone survived.
Although, one of the kids (not with me) did let themselves out of the hotel room at 2 am and went missing for a few moments. Luckily, a security guard found the child (who was knocking on doors asking for food), and Hubby happened to hear them down the hall. This is a new placement and its clear that this child has some deep, deep trauma and neglect going on. No eye contact. No fear of others. Shaking the moment he was in trouble. Tantruming in public. Constantly hungry, terrible teeth, and craving sugar.
I have learned to not care why others think, but I was curious as to what was going through people's minds when we rolled into the pool with 14 kids: 8 Mexican, 6 African American, and three white parents. Only one person was brave enough to say anything. She remarked that we had a lot of kids to supervise and she thought 2 was hard. Lady, you don't know the half of it. If you heard the life stories of these children you would have signed up to give them an unforgettable weekend too.
I got to connect with all of my kids this weekend. Even getting this letter from Gabby. She knows I love explaining how if you are getting hate mail, you are parenting the right way. Inside was a heart that said, "I will always love you."
We have come a long way in the last year. I continue to surprise myself with the fact that my heart just keeps growing bigger allowing more special people in. Never would I have though this annual trip would look like it did this weekend. Which is similar to last year when we spent the weekend with Maria and the Fab Four. I never imagined a family experience quite like this....this is way better.