Never Changing my Cell Phone Number

Elaina Avalos, Foster Care,

In the fall of last year, I taught my foster son my cell phone number. He’d already learned our address. When he first moved in, we had tried the cell phone number along with our address, but he wasn’t too interested.

So we worked on the phone number again in the fall. By December, he knew it by heart & would randomly bring it up.

He called me during a visit with his family.

He still knows the number. We talked about it a lot in the last couple of months before he left my home. In a card I gave him right after he left, I reminded him that he knew my phone number and that he could call me anytime he needs help.

He may never need to call that number. That is my hope and prayer.

But I’m never giving up that phone number. Like over my dead body will I change that number. I want him to know that he truly can find me and ask for help if he needs it. I don’t want him to need that. My heart longs for a hopeful, joy-filled life – one in which he never needs to call on me.

He deserves the absolute best. And I know he is destined for great things. But I needed him to know that I’m a phone call away.

We are inching closer to two months since he left. I miss him terribly. My emotions are all over the place. I wonder sometimes if I’ll ever feel able to do this again. But in my heart of hearts, I know I want to be a foster parent.

Risking my heart is worth it for them. Though I don’t always feel it right now.

I took a week off from work. Combined with the Labor Day holiday, it has been a good break. I hoped that during some time off from work, I’d feel a little more even.

Now that it’s time to go back {well, after the hurricane that is}, I’m not ready. I won’t tell a lie, I looked into ways to take a leave absence. But there’s no easy way to accomplish that.

I spent a lot of time doing nothing in the last week and a half. Quite literally. I felt guilty about it at first. Then I didn’t. Sometimes you need to just to do nothing.

While sometimes I feel like I could use about four more weeks of this, I know it’s time to keep marching forward.

But my heart is still in about September of 2018 – when I couldn’t imagine any other life than one with my foster son. Not because I didn’t understand foster care & its goals, but because he hadn’t seen his bio mom since March. And all signs pointed toward a plan change and adoption.

While I have come to understand foster care {and adoption} as deeply complex and not understood in black & white terms, I also know that I wasn’t alone in the belief that this would be our ultimate path. More than one person estimated by summer of 2019, he would be adopted.

We had a very different course. Ultimately, that course changed drastically in about a three-month period. I still haven’t wrapped my brain around it. So I’m giving myself a break.

I’m not ready to go back to work. But I’m going. When I go, I’ll probably won’t beat myself up much about the pace I need to keep – which is frankly probably more than I should keep anyway.

I’m not ready to stop being sad sometimes. So I will let myself.

Sometimes we should probably give ourselves a break.

And I’ll never change my cell phone number.

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