We have put our foster care application on hold because of other developments.
Back when I was an undergraduate student, I volunteered as a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters. I was matched with a girl named Shamela, who was in 6th grade. We were formally matched for two years, until her family moved away. A year later, they returned to the area and we kept in touch, though we were not formally matched again. We have maintained contact off and on over the years since.
In the interest of protecting her privacy, I don’t want to share too much about what her life has been like. Suffice to say, it hasn’t been easy. Don and I decided to invite her and her 2-year-old son, Ja’Quan, to come live with us for a while so we could help her get her life on track. She is also pregnant with a baby girl, due in January.
She arrived just over a week ago and has had a busy, productive week. She has been hired for two different jobs; she was hoping they would have complementary schedules but they don’t, so she’s chosen one and starts training tomorrow. She’s on the list for subsidized daycare; as soon as they have an opening in his age group, Ja’Quan will be able to attend Monday to Friday, 8:00-4:30. She’s also met with a parent educator who has given her lots of information and resources. We had a picnic dinner at a park on Lake Superior last Saturday and she was impressed with the natural beauty; she’d never been anywhere like it. She attended church with us on Sunday and commented on how friendly everyone was. All in all, she’s learning her way around and settling in well.
The biggest challenge initially was that Simon and Ja’Quan are sharing a bedroom and they had very different sleep habits. Ja’Quan was used to staying up to 10 or 11 pm and sleeping until 10 am; Simon is used to going to bed around 8-8:30 pm and waking around 7:30-8 am. Ja’Quan was used to having his mom stay with him until he falls asleep, and Simon is used to me putting him to bed and leaving the room so he can fall asleep alone. We’ve been changing Ja’Quan’s sleep habits to be like Simon’s. It hasn’t been fun, but it’s starting to pay off.
The ongoing challenge is that Ja’Quan needs a lot of supervision, and I’m the one who’s here doing the child-minding during the day when Shamela is off dealing with stuff. I’m glad to be able to help her, but it is a strain. He still naps in the afternoons, which is a welcome break, but I feel like I need to give Simon some one-on-one attention during that time, so it’s not a real break for me. I will definitely appreciate it when he starts daycare.