phone calls home and growing up

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My youngest daughter called home this afternoon. She is between camps. Her first camp was a leadership camp and she said it was “hard,ten times harder than basics”. She sounded tired,excited and happy. I love talking to teens when they have succeeded in pushing themselves farther than they thought they could. I love hearing the confidence that is born of accomplishment. This daughter and her two brothers are the counter to our confusion and despair with youngest. We are so proud of the people they are becoming-and are. They bring so much to our family. We cannot imagine our life without them.They are moving forward;sometimes slowly,sometimes in leaps. Sometimes they fall backwards. They do not stop trying. They don’t let their past or their disabilities stop them. My daughter is slowly becoming more independent.She is moving away from childhood and adolescence toward adulthood. She has a ways to go,but she is heading in the right direction.
When she came to us, she was the mama to the boys. Sometimes she and her brother (just ten months younger) worked together to watch out for the youngest boy. Most of the time it was this daughter who held them together.
She was ten.
It was hard on her those first three years as her brothers came to trust us and to love us.It was hard on her when she was given the privileges and responsibilities of the child she was,not the adult she was trying to be(forced to be). She lost what little anchor she had. Eventually she too began to trust us. She trusted us with her brothers and finally truses us with herself. It still is not an iron clad trust. Almost. Not quite.
She does trust us enough to get on with her own growing up. She trusts her brothers are safe and loved and cared for. She is the bossy older sister. She is no longer the mini-mom.
A few years ago all three were tested by the neuropsychologist. He told us that the three of them had their own language-similar to what twins have. He had never seen three siblings with a five year age gap having their own language before.It was if they were three bodies,but one person. We have spent the last few years gently trying to get them to become separate people. Our daughter is slowly becoming autonomous. She is doing it without massive rebellion. She is choosing to do it through success.
As we watch this set of teens begin the dance of independence, we wonder what would have happened to them if they were still foster children. I cannot imagine being eighteen or nineteen and having no place to call home. No one to call if the checking account gets overdrawn. No one to call to ask advise. Can you imagine getting sick and not having anyone to drive you to the doctor? Can you imagine one to care if you are homeless?
It defies imagination.
Our kids have a home to come back to. They will always have someone who cares about them. we are their touch stone as they become adults. Even youngest, with all his anger and hate, has a place where he is loved-even if he isn’t alway able to live here.
There is of course the distinct possibility that my thirteen year old will need us for more than a base to come back to. That is all right. He has a safe place with us for as long as he needs it. If he needs it longer than we live,he has a multitude of brothers and sisters who will feel privileged to take our place.
That is what family does.

About lenell

Wife to a very patient man and mom to 8 interesting kids via birth,marriage and adoption. Grandma to nearly 5,nearly perfect grandchildren.
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