“These kids are like snowflakes,” she said. “Each one is unique.”
That’s what the foster care recruiter told us last fall while sitting at our dining room table. She admitted to making generalities, but then a kid comes along who is totally outside the norm, and it brings her back to snowflakes.
But still, in an effort to provide some context for this completely foreign life as a foster parent, generalities could help. I kept asking her what these kids are like. She obliged, and gave stories and provided anecdotes.
Most kids being placed in the Catholic Community Services international foster care program are teens. They come from all over the world, although many are from Central America and Africa. Most come into family homes from either a UN refugee camp or a US detainee center.
Some are jokesters, some are soccer fans, some are dancers, some are divas. They are kids. Kids who grew up too fast because of unrest in their country, because fighting erupted on their land, because gangs passed through their village. These are kids adapting to American culture, learning to speak English, catching up on their studies, and striving to fit in.
We’ve been on pins and needles since this process began late last summer. We’ve been curious about who would be placed in our home. We tried to be patient and not count our chick before it hatched. We tried not to get swept up in our assumptions of who would join our family.
Before I had my birth children, I didn’t really understand the extent to which children were one-of-a-kind. Somewhere out there, was a one-of-a-kind who would be our foster son or daughter.
And then the other day happened. The thermometer reported that outside it was in the 70s. Yet a snowflake found it’s way into our car.