He walked right out.
No one even noticed for awhile. It was a boy’s home after all. A lot of activity, a lot of testosterone. When they noticed that he was gone, they sent out a search party. Where had he gone? Why? How long had he been gone? Where would he go?
They didn't have to search for long. He was walking along the side of the highway. They pulled up next to him and told him to get in the car. When they asked him where he was going, he said “to Atlanta to see my sister."
There were three children, one of them an infant. The other two were practically babies themselves. They were separated upon intake at the Department of Family and Children's Services. They would never all live together again.
The baby went to one foster home, the other two were sent to a foster home together. They were scared. They were confused. I am sure they longed for the mom. Children want and love their mom even if she seemingly does not deserve this love and devotion.
The little girl was the oldest by two years. Although she was a young child herself, she had been acting as caregiver to the others. She had no idea what was happening. She was terrified. She was Deaf. No one could tell her what was going on. No one could communicate with her.
She was a little girl lost.
In her terror and loss, she could not sleep alone. It was a strange place, strange people, strange everything. Where was the baby? Why were they here? Where was her mom? She wanted, no needed to sleep with her brother.
It was against foster care rules.
Special permission had to be obtained and of course that is never immediate.
In time the request was granted and she could sleep in the same bed with her little brother. The “caregiver" needed to be cared for.
She was finally able to find slumber if not complete rest.
It was during this time that the roles reversed. The little girl never really knew that. Even now, she doesn't know that. The little brother became the "big boy," the "man" of this little family of children.
He understood, even at this young age (preschool) that he needed to protect his sister. She was different. She could not hear. She could not speak. Therefore, she could not understand. At this point she had NO language at all. He became her self appointed keeper.
Part two of this story will post on Monday, October 18, 2010