E was sick this week. I suspected an ear infection, so after Andrew got home one evening I took her in to urgent care.
I could tell right away she felt uneasy being in that building. She was sick often in a previous (relative) placement, and I suspect being in a medical-type setting is a trigger for her. She shut down the minute we walked in.
We were called back to the little room for registration. The sight of her sitting alone in the chair beside me, not feeling well, and battling big feelings inside broke my heart. She didn’t want to sit on my lap though, and I had to respect that.
I felt flustered when the lady doing the registration started asking questions. We’re in the awkward stage in between foster care and adoption finalization. To me, I’m her mom. She’s my kid. To the state, she’s still a permanent ward. She does not have my last name… I do not have her social security number or insurance card. Her medical passport is a joke, barely completed. I vaguely remember seeing in one of the stacks of papers that she has a possible antibiotic allergy, but it’s not confirmed anywhere. Is she up to date on immunizations? I think so? All I have that connects she and I is a little piece of paper. Not much bigger than a post it note, that states I’m her foster mom and lists (what little) rights I have to her medical care and an insurance recipient number.
I handed it over to the lady and tried to briefly explain, by spelling… “I’m her f-o-s-t-e-r mom. We’re pre a-d-o-p-t-i-v-e. It’s not final yet. This is all I have for the proof of health insurance.”
We waited while the lady input the information. I could see her glancing at E, before she caught her eyes and said “Well, it’s nice you get to be adopted, it’s it?”
I looked at E and froze. She was glaring at the woman, not saying a word and I did nothing to react. I wanted to crawl in a hole… Overwhelming feelings of “How dare you tell that to a 5 year old foster child?!” “She doesn’t GET to be adopted.” “Please don’t react E.” “Tell her how you feel E!” “How can you be so stupid?” “She’s just naive to foster care.” “This is the problem with people.” “Give grace, she doesn’t know.”
Every feeling and every thought ran through my mind. I don’t even remember leaving the little room, but thankfully we were done in there after that.
An hour later, we had an ear infection diagnosis and were headed to the pharmacy. The whole time I replayed it in my head. I wish I would have known what to say to the lady. I still don’t know.
I was able to talk through it with E on the drive. She was crushed and I’m sure it will stick with her for awhile, if not forever. It’s easier to explain the situation to a 5 year old, thankfully the words came… “You don’t GET to be adopted E, we GET to adopt YOU.”