Saying Yes and Saving the Day!
Due to the shortage of foster homes, placement requests have been challenging. Placement requests at 4:00 pm- challenging. Placement requests of siblings- more challenging. Placement requests of siblings that have 12 years of an age difference between them- nearly impossible. One of the most challenging, sad, and difficult days of a certifier is having to place siblings in different homes. With the current shortage of foster homes, unfortunately, this is a situation we run into far too often.
So there we were at 4:00 pm with Tara* and Emma* arriving into our office after being placed in protective custody. In desperation, I reached out to my AWESOME Embrace Oregon foster providers- Kat and Luke. Much to our excitement, Kat and Luke agreed to take BOTH children into their lovely home! It was definitely a great moment of relief as we had a small moment of celebration within the certification unit. Not only did Kat and Luke answer the call, but Kat was gracious enough to come to the office to pick up the kids herself knowing how much work staff at the agency face when working in these situations.
Not 15 minutes after Kat and I ended our phone conversation, an overhead page summoned me into an office. Sitting there was a DHS caseworker and Tara, who was just informed that she and her younger sister would not be returning home with their biological mother. Tara was understandably upset and in tears. To ease some of Tara’s anxiety, the caseworker asked if I could answer some of Tara’s questions about where she would be spending the night. Very rarely will a foster home certifier be requested to speak directly to a child about their new foster home but this was obviously important to Tara. Having worked with Kat and Luke for almost two years, I was happy to talk to Tara about their lovely family and home. Tara was able voice some of her feelings and things about her that she hopes a foster parent would understand.
On cue, our hero, Kat, wielding her infant child, Dahlia, arrived into the office to save the day! Kat, Dahlia, Tara, her caseworker, and I just sat there together while Tara was processing this day that she will won’t soon forget. I was very touched to hear Kat re-affirm with Tara that their family was happy to be able to take her and Emma into their home. It came with such love and sincerity- definitely a needed ingredient for Tara in a time of much turmoil. Kat was so great and patient in allowing Tara to process and voice some of her concerns and questions she had. It was obvious that Tara was very protective of her much younger sister after all they have been through and seen together. As time passed, it was obvious that the tension in the room had been reduced significantly with Kat and Dahlia’s presence.
The entire time during this conversation, I kept thinking to myself how glad and lucky we were to be able to have found a home where both Tara and Emma were able to be together. This sad moment for Tara could have turned into a much more traumatic moment had Kat and Luke not say “Yes!” to take both of the kids. On cue yet again, baby Dahlia had a “baby issue” that caused everyone in the room to laugh and smile. It was a great to see the little period of relief for Tara. It was a great relief for all of us that Tara and Emma were able to leave the office with Kat and Dahlia TOGETHER.
Kat, Luke, and Baby Dahlia- thank you so much for saying yes and saving our day!!