Today’s guest post is brought to you by Jeffrey Lane. He and his wife have been providing foster care for children ever since they got married in 2004.
Never let kids use permanent markers. This was a lesson I learned the hard way. What had started as a normal day of arts and crafts at the dining table, turned suddenly sour when I found Vincent using our backdoor as his canvas of choice. We had been spending the day making some works of art and I had hardly noticed as he had gotten up from the table and made his way to the kitchen, the next room over. But when I found him there I quickly and painfully realized my mistake.
Vincent was a pleasantly plump 8 year old. One of the chunkiest and most gregarious kids we had ever had in our home. He and his sister had been spending a few weeks with us while his family situation was being figured out. As usual these were incredible kids who were simply victims of circumstances outside of their control. He and his sister were helpful and courteous in our home and grateful for anything that we provided. I guess that is why it surprised me to find him hiding in our back room with a marker in hand and our kitchen door now tattooed with graffiti.
I approached as patiently as I could when I realized what he had done. It was not the first or last time our stuff would be permanently defaced. Our cars and houses have always had marks and memories permanently rendered by our kids. But black permanent marker on a beautiful white door was enough to challenge my usually calm demeanor.
I immediately switched into serious Super Nanny discipline mode, trying to be clear and firm. I told Vincent that we only use markers at the table and only on paper. I told him that he was going to have to wash the door until it was clean and that he was going to have to help me paint it back to normal.
Vincent immediately became emotional, which was not the reaction I was hoping for.
Thankfully my wife then came to the rescue and intervened.
She has a bit more perspective than I do and immediately got on his level. She tried to get a further understanding of why Vincent, who had never been a discipline problem to this point, had gone and done such an act.
Through his tears she was able to get to the heart of what was going on. As he explained I began to soften as well and then I looked again at the half erased words that were still visible on the door.
I realized that he was not simply drawing random graffiti, but he had written his address.
He wasn’t trying to hurt our home – he was trying to hold on to the memory of his own. It was then that we heard him say, “I didn’t want to forget where I live.”
If you’d like to submit a post telling the story of a poignant moment that occurred during adoption or foster care, please email your 500-word submission to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
THERE WILL BE NO NEW ADOPTION POSTS FOR THE NEXT TWO FRIDAYS, AS I WILL BE TRAVELING IN SRI LANKA. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO JOIN ME ON THE TRIP! (IN THE SHOW-UP-DAILY-AT-MY-BLOG SENSE, NOT THE SHOW-UP-AT-THE-AIRPORT-WITH-YOUR-BAGS-PACKED SENSE.)
Prior adoption and foster care posts include:
Fear and an Open Adoption – Adoption Stories With Rebecca Wenrich
I Saw Our New Son and the Voice Said, “Run Away” – Adoption Stories With Kim Van Brunt
Checking ‘Yes’ to Everything: Adoption Stories With Sonya Judkins
Because Someone Has To: Adoption Stories With Shar Halvorsen
Momma For a Moment: A Foster Care Story, With Tamara Out Loud