I’ve been moved around more times than I can count. The longest I’ve ever stayed at one place has been a year. Usually, it’s anywhere between five to seven months. Sometimes, it’s even shorter. Then there are always the excuses. The family’s moving away or they already have enough kids and can’t afford to take me in. The list goes on and on. I’ve never had a place to really call home, even when I lived with my real parents. First time I was taken away was when I was five. Two years later, I was removed for the second time. My mom did drugs and Dad was an alcoholic. The whole point of the foster program is to reunite the kids with their parents and get them the help they need. They also have to meet the program’s standards to be considered fit. That’s why I don’t ever get attached to anyone.
I had been in this last foster home for almost six months. One day, I found out these people were moving because the husband had gotten transferred to a new job. “Here we go again,” I thought.
Sometimes I thought it would have been easier if I had a brother or sister. The program usually tries to keep siblings together, by putting them in the same home. But then again I would never wish this on any kid.
I’m riding in my caseworker’s car. My former caseworker, Debbie, had just gone on maternity leave. My new caseworker is Erin. I don’t think she has been doing this for very long. She seems too perky for someone who is going to be placing a kid in a home full of strangers. I am probably one of her first cases. It used to be I would see my caseworker on their monthly visits. Lately, I have been taking to packing anytime I see them coming.
“ I hear these people have some kids of their own,” Erin was saying. “I think the boy is about your age.” Another thing about Erin is she tries to make a foster home sound like it’s a nice place to be. “They live about forty miles outside of Indianapolis.” I will have lived in every town in the state of Indiana before long.
About forty -five minutes later, Erin pulled up in front of a large brown house with a lot of dark trees. Looked pretty bleak. Just hoped the people weren’t as bleak as the house. A lady, probably in her mid thirties, answered the door.
“You must be Trent,” she said with a big smile. “Welcome. Come right in.”
Erin and the lady went over the paper work and then Erin said she would see me next month. Providing I am still here, I thought.
“Well, I’m Annie Taylor and this is my husband, Glenn.” Glenn gave me a hardy handshake. “Kids, come meet you new brother.”
“I know, foster brother,” Annie replied, softly, “ but I don’t like that word. Kind of like stepbrother or stepsister. I don’t like those words, either. So we’ll just say brother.”
A boy and two girls had come into the room.
“This is our oldest daughter, Star, our son, Barry and our youngest daughter, Maureen, but everyone calls her Mo. Kids, this is Trent.”
Well, if that doesn’t beat all. I had a foster sister who was a supernova and a foster brother who was a blue-barry.
“So, Mo, where are Larry and Curly?” I said under my breath. She just stared at me with big blue eyes.
“Well, Trent, you’re just in time for dinner. I hope you like meatloaf.”
After dinner, Annie took me upstairs to show me the room.
“Well, I’ll let you get settled in. You’re probably tired. Just make yourself at home and if you need anything just holler.”
I wasn’t going take any extra measures to make myself feel at home. I didn’t even unpack that night.
Over the course of the next couple of months, I found out Annie and Glenn weren’t just being nice to me for the first few days I was with them or because I was a foster kid. They were just naturally nice people. This was different than any other foster family I had ever been in. When Erin made her monthly visits, she never said anything about moving me to another home. I kept trying to tell myself, “Don’t get too attached, don’t get too attached.” That night, deep down inside me, I secretly hoped I would never have to leave.
One day, Annie and Glenn said, they wanted to talk to me.
“Trent, you do know there are two kinds of foster families. Ones that just want to be foster families and not adopt and others that are looking to adopt. Glenn and I are one of those kind of foster families,” Annie said. ”You see, Glenn and I both come from big families. So, naturally, we wanted to have a big family of our own. I was considered a high-risk case and was told it would not be in my best interest to have children. That was just not an option for me. After Barry was born, we were told that if we tried to have another child, I would most likely miscarry or even die. That’s when we started looking into becoming a foster family.”
“Not too many people know this,” Glenn said,” but Mo came to us as a foster child.”
“We got her when she was only a couple months old. As soon as we saw her, we fell in love with her. I mean, Glenn and I, we are Mom and Dad to her. We’re they only parents she’s ever known. So, we decided to try and adopt her. We filed the papers as soon as we could so we would have a better chance at getting her…and as you can see, it worked out in our favor. She is our daughter.”
“Trent, would it be okay with you if we looked into adopting you as well?” Annie asked.
I was stunned. “Wow.”
“I know it’s a lot to take in so we want you to think about it,” Glenn said. “Mo was too young when we got her, but you are old enough to make your own decisions.”
As I lay in bed that night, I kept playing the words over again in my head.
The next afternoon I walked into the living room where Annie and Glenn were sitting.
“Hi, Mom. Hi, Dad,” I said.
“We need to celebrate,” Annie said. “Trent, what would you like for dinner? What’s your favorite food?”
“I really don’t have a favorite food, but something I haven’t had for a long time is chicken and dumpling’s.”
“Chicken and dumplings it is then,” Annie replied. “My grandmother used to make the best dumplings and she gave me the recipe.”
I had forgotten what it felt like to be part of a real family. But somehow I felt as if the ground was about to fall out from under my feet.
Annie and Glenn met with Erin to file the necessary papers. Everything was going as planned until one day, Erin showed up for a surprise visit.
“What, what is it?” I asked when I saw how serious her face was.
“Trent,” she said. “I’ve just talked to your biological parents…and they want you back.”