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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Children in Crisis

We've taken in two foster children for crisis care and will have them for about a week. This kind of care is short-term for children with severe needs until permanent placement is arranged. We have an 8-yr-old boy and a 5-yr-old girl. The social worker gave us a heads-up informing us that both children are severely autistic, so they don't speak much and what little they do speak is in Spanish. The girl is still in diapers but it's not so bad, she's really cooperative when it comes to letting me change her..

These kids may have high needs because of how severe their autism is but I can recognize right away that their spirits are both very sweet. They were so nervous when they were dropped off. I wasn't sure if they were ever going to warm up. But after a couple hours, it was incredibly rewarding to able to break through the first barriers.

The girl is in her own little world and makes hardly any eye contact as she hums and rocks herself. The boy is able to interact a little more. Right before bed, they both shed some tears as reality began to settle in that they were staying in a completely unfamiliar place. In an effort to calm them and help them feel a little more secure, I had the idea to play the relaxing music playlist Chandler listens to when he sleeps at night. I figured since Chandler has high-functioning autism, these children on the other end of the autistic spectrum might appreciate his style of nighttime music. My assumption was right - It instantly made a difference.

Then, I pulled out a couple of back scratchers to add to the relaxation. The girl liked it right away- but the boy seemed startled by the touch. He recoiled and made a few whimpering noises. I gave him some space and just let him watch me scratch his sister's back. After a moment of watching and seeing that he was safe, he rolled onto his stomach and let me scratch his back. Every other minute, the boy and girl would glance over their shoulder with their big brown eyes so full of questions. I'd smile and whisper, "esta bien, esta bien." Then they'd smile. After 30 minutes, I had them both sleeping deep and comfortable.

I did a late-night rush to the store once they were asleep to pick up some of their favorite foods their social worker listed for us.

I'm really glad we could be available for this crisis call. Joseph, Miriam, Micah and Kaylee have all been great helpers so far with this too. Chandler is away for the week at a scout-camp so I'm not quite sure what his reaction will be. He'll only be with them a few days though. I feel good about everything.



Ramona Gordy said...

You are such a good mom, I am glad you are Foster care another chance, even in this small capacity. I feel that every little bit of love we can "foster" to others, children and adults alike, its like water in a desert. People grow and learn to love is given freely
Love you so much

Alicia Rawlins said...

It really is a blessing to do this, 'like water in a dessert'. My husband commented yesterday that his depression seems to have lifted quite a bit and he didn't know why. I suggested that maybe fostering children sort of forces him to think outside of himself, forces him into doing acts of service for others.

He considered how his depression had settled in right after our other fosters left and how he has felt better since these two children arrived and answered, "If fostering is helping me with my depression then that's amazing because I never would have thought of that as a possible solution."

"It is amazing!" I answered. "But if you think about it, the Savior taught this a long time ago, ‘Whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.’ (Mark 8:35)"