Larry has been a foster child in our home for almost a month. He is nearly four years old and has many delays, the most significant being his speech delay. But it amazing to see how many new words he is able to use now. He hardly spoke when he came though he certainly knew how to scream, which he did whenever he felt frustrated. And this was often as he did not have the language to say what he wanted. But he is starting to break out of that cycle because he can now express many of his “wants” using words.

with quilt

Settling himself on the couch to read. Notice the new quilt that a friend made and gave to him.

In many ways he is a typical little boy, he loves to play with cars and trucks and well as to build with blocks. He will eat anything covered in peanut butter and he loves to ride in the car. And he had a great time camping. But traumatic early experiences have caused damage that could be very hard to overcome.

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He loved camping. Here he is waiting for his turn to sample fish cooked over the open fire. He loved it. Ted serves and Seneca looks on.

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Our family has cared for more than 40 foster children in the past three years, most for just a few days. They have ranged in age from a few days to 17 years. We see our job as helping kids who are in crisis to begin to feel safe and comfortable while a more permanent placement can be found for them. Some return to their parents and some go to grandparents or other relatives. And some, like Larry, will go to long term foster homes, now that it is clear that he can’t return to his mother for awhile. She will be offered services and encouraged to visit on a regular basis.

end of kitchen

Here he is arranging blocks, he also liked the larger Legos

People often ask if it is hard for us to let the children go when the time comes. Larry is visiting his new foster family over the weekend and I have more of a sense of joy and anticipation than sadness. I feel good about what we were able to help him accomplish. He is calmer, more social, and has better table manners. He now likes to be read to, and he screams less. He is able to make eye contact sometimes and he follows simple directions. We know that family that will be taking him and believe he will do well there.
I took him to appointments with the folks at Head Start and the preschool program through the school district that provides support for kids with delays. He qualified and is now enrolled in both programs. With calm stability in his life I think he will begin to make amazing gains.

And so we say, “Go and be happy, Larry.”

Note:
Due to privacy concerns I couldn’t use photos of his beautiful face.  He has blue eyes to match the quilt in the first photo.  I have also changed his name in this blog.

Later—
This addition was written Saturday evening. Larry is back. His prospective foster mother called around noon. Larry bit her foster daughter and twice bit her granddaughter. He had provoked their dog to bite him and she said she was in over her head. He is asleep now, I am so sorry for him, and I wish it had worked out. It looks like he needs a family with no little kids and no big dogs.