So Hans Solo came to live with us two weeks ago today.
When they brought him over, I was overloaded with a TON of appointments to schedule and things to do. And SCHOOL. Completely forgot a 9-year-old goes to school! To say I was in complete shock would be a major understatement. They were listing off all of this stuff and I wasn’t even writing anything down. At the end, I had to have them repeat everything so I could remember what to do.
I was overwhelmed.
When they brought in his clothing & other things, I realized quickly that a shopping trip was going to be necessary. He had a few shirts, a few athletic shorts, two pairs of shoes, some socks, underwear, and that was pretty much it. No jeans, no dress clothes for church, no toys. When we asked him what he liked to do, he just shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t know.” We asked him about legos, remote control cars, GI Joes, Star Wars, and on and on, but he just kept saying he had never played with any of that stuff. Finally, we found out the one (and just about only) thing he liked to do was throw the football. And let me tell you, that boy can throw a football really good for his age!
So that night, we went through our bedtime routine of reading a book, saying our prayers, and getting tucked into bed. And as we walked out of his room and shut the door, we heard him cry out, “Goodnight! I love you!”
First night in our house, and he was telling us, “I love you.” Of course, we opened the door back up and told him we loved him, too. But it was not what I was expecting in that moment. Here is the little boy who’s world has just been completely turned upside down. I can’t imagine what I would be like if that happened to me. I’m almost sure I wouldn’t immediately tell a couple of brand new people in my life that I love them. We’ve heard stories of kids who refuse to even unpack their bags for several months because they are convinced they are going back home. Not Hans Solo.
As the shock of the situation wore off, the next day proved to be very challenging for me. Trying to schedule a doctors appointment, dentist appointment, therapy, psych evaluation, psychiatrist appointment, visitations (there were going to be three a week now), figure out summer plans at YMCA, & figure out school enrollment was enough to almost send me overboard. AND I was working at the church while I was trying to do all of this with both Hans Solo and the Jedi there with me. I was on a true rollercoaster. One moment I would take a deep breath and think, “Ok, this is going to be fine. I can handle it.” And the next, I would be on the phone with my mom crying my eyes out because I didn’t know how I was going to get everything done AND continue to work AND have our house on the market AND this AND that. Finally, I got to a point where I had to contact the caseworker and my Bair worker and say, “OK. I work full time. This is waaaaayyy too much for me to have to do and continue working full time. There is no way I can take off work to go to THREE visits a week, take off for therapy, take off at 3:00 to go get Hans Solo from school every day… and I can’t afford to quit (or lose) my job. PLEASE HELP!”
I am definitely thankful that I can contact these people and they care enough to try to do everything possible to make the situation easier. Before I knew it, we were down to just one visit a week (after work), therapy was scheduled for the evenings, and they had everything set up for daycare for him once he’s out of school.
Because of God’s strength, I made it through that Friday. And as we tucked Hans Solo in to bed that night, we told him that the next night, he could choose what we were going to pray for–whether it was school, or his friends, or his sisters, or his family–whatever he wanted. We started to walk out of the room, and he asked, “Are y’all my mom and dad?”
I wasn’t expecting, “I love you” the night before, but I definitely wasn’t expecting this question on night #2! I just simply said, “Hans Solo, we are your foster parents. So while you are living with us, we get to be like your mom and dad. Does that sound ok to you?” And he shouted, “YES!”
I honestly do not know if we are prepared to raise a 9-year-old. Let alone a 9-year-old that has been through some of the things this boy has been through. But I know that God has called us. And we will follow Him to the ends of the earth!