She Cries Too Much?

February 2, 2019 52 Comments

1999

Beatrice 1999

I had 8 years with my first daughter, Alice, all to myself. The foster care system has changed a lot over the years, but back in the 90’s, if a child out of foster care was in guardianship, there was a level of check-ins still required by the system. Alice was not eligible for adoption because of her cultural background, but I had guardianship. The main component of ‘keeping tabs’ was that I had to keep my foster care license current, even though I did not intend to have any more children other than my Alice. Relicensing happens every three years in the foster care system. EVERY time I relicensed, I would get calls to have kids placed with me. The calls would last for about 2 months and I would always say ‘no.’ My theory is that my file would bubble to the top of the pile with each relicensing and social workers would take note and try to find placement homes for kids in need.

When I had finished relicensing for the second time, I got a call about a little 4-year-old that my heart could not ignore. Her story caught my interest and the extra nudge to pay attention to this call was that the little one, Beatrice, had the same birthday as Alice (8 years younger). It felt like more than a coincidence, so after some questions, I said, “yes,” this time. And my life changed again in the blink of an eye.

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Beatrice, 2 years old at the time, and her brother Harry were found in an apartment alone with no food available. She has shared many tidbits of memories over the years about things that happened, with her mother specifically, around that time. I have no memories of being 2 years old. Beatrice has fearful and sad, ingrained memories. She and her brother finally ended up in a foster home together.

However, within a month or so, the social worker was asked to find a new placement for Beatrice, because she “cried too much.” All in all, this little, fragile, frightened sweetheart had 3 placement changes with a single excuse…. she cried too much! And she was separated from her brother in the process (he was adopted by the first placement), further traumatizing her. She touched my heart!!!!

Beatrice had been in a placement in another state, so on the day she was to come to us, the social worker flew out to get her. Ms. P arrived on our doorstep at 10:30 at night with a tiny little girl, tears rolling down her cheeks and a little pink Tweety Bird suitcase in hand. I asked Beatrice if she needed a hug and she walked right into my arms.

Oh. My. Goodness! This little girl could cry!!!!! Every single transition in her day was accompanied by tears. “It’s time to get dressed for school.” Crocodile tears, “But I miss my mommy.” “It’s time to start getting ready for bed. Go pick out a book for us to read?” Crocodile tears, “I’m too sad. I want my brother.” “It’s time to wash your hands for dinner.” Crocodile tears, “I can’t! I don’t feel good.”

Early on, I figured out my response. “It’s time to go brush your teeth.” Crocodile tears, “But I’m so sad. I want my grammy.” “I can see how sad you are. Do you need a hug?” Beatrice would nod yes. So we would hug, then I’d tell her, “I’m sorry you’re sad. You can be sad if you need to be sad, but even sad people have to brush their teeth.” At first, she would blink her eyes and stare at me, then wail even louder and throw herself in my arms again. I would gently direct her to whatever transition prompted the tears.

Month after month, the tears continued. Alice would complain once in a while and we’d have a discussion about how often SHE would show HER rage, especially early on and that every person has a right to their feelings.
Ever so slowly, the tears began to lessen. The changes were barely noticeable until seen in hindsight.

One day about 5 months in, we were sitting, the 3 of us, at the kitchen table and coloring pictures I had printed from my computer. It was pretty quiet… a comment here and there about choosing a crayon or the girls showing me their progress. Eventually, there was a huge sigh from Beatrice. I remember it vividly. She put her crayon down and looked right in my eyes, then sighed again. I asked, “What’s up?” Beatrice said, “I get to cry in this house.”

“Yes, my love, you do.

~~~~~

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52 Comments

  1. Reply

    Annette Durbin

    July 1, 2019

    Such an inspirational story!! My husband and family worked with the foster care system for a few years. We were always blessed by the kiddos, and very happy to provide a safe place for them in our home.

    • Reply

      Karla

      July 1, 2019

      I am always SO happy to hear from another foster parent. It’s hard to understand the system and the kids unless you’ve been in the journy. I have a very healthy support system and I could not do this as a single parent without my family and community, but most just do not completely “get” what this is about. Thanks for coming over to read.

  2. Reply

    Angela Greven | Mean Green Chef

    June 26, 2019

    What a precious girl, I am so glad that she was able to begin healing with you. Such a touching story as so many are here, you’re truly selfless and a blessing to so many.

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 27, 2019

      Thank you, Angela. She’s such a sweetie. I’m not selfless, I’m truly blessed! I get as much as they do.

  3. Reply

    Tonya | the Writer Mom

    June 25, 2019

    This is such a touching story. Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 25, 2019

      Thank you, Tonya. I appreciate you coming to read.

  4. Reply

    Cindy

    June 25, 2019

    Oh my heart…little Beatrice is breaking it. She carried so much sadness. Iโ€™m glad you let her cry. She needed a safe place to cry. And someone to hug her and let her know it was okay to feel her feelings.

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 25, 2019

      She is such a sweetheart! And is full of joy, not just the tears. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Reply

    Tricia Snow

    June 25, 2019

    Awwww …. these stories are so heartwarming and break my heart!

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 25, 2019

      Thank you, Tricia. There is so much that can be done — so many little things to help others heal.

  6. Reply

    Magan

    June 25, 2019

    Oh my goodness, my heart melts for herโ€”and you! Foster care is definitely a calling, and Iโ€™m so glad youโ€™re sharing your journey with us.

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 25, 2019

      Thank you, Magan. I am called and I am in love with my journey. These kids are a blessing!

  7. Reply

    Vetrla

    June 25, 2019

    You tell a great story. I cried for the both of you. Keep writing.

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 25, 2019

      Thank you, Verla! I love writing. You have a tender heart, I think.

  8. Reply

    Kymberly Irwin

    June 25, 2019

    Oh, my! Love this story. Thanks for all you do, for all you’ve done. Can’t help but think about all the children out there right now separated from their families, like Beatrice. So confusing for them.

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 25, 2019

      Thank you, Kymberly. The need is great for foster families to love these kids while they are in transition.

  9. Reply

    Jelane

    June 25, 2019

    Such a touching story. I love the way you handled her tears. Your response was wonderful, so caring and understanding. Thank you for sharing this!

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 25, 2019

      Thank you, Jelane. Most of the time, it’s so good just to hang out and make sure the kids have someone sitting with them during hard times.

  10. Reply

    Meagan

    June 25, 2019

    I can’t imagine! Even as an adult if my life got turned completely upside down I’d probably be crying all day every day! I can’t imagine losing everything you love as a little 2-year-old.

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 25, 2019

      I know, right? Here’s your new house with new smells and new tastes and new sounds and no one you know. But don’t cry! Ugh!

  11. Reply

    Melissa Jones

    June 25, 2019

    The joys and struggles of foster care life!

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 25, 2019

      That’s pretty much the tagline of my blog. lOL It is a mighty journey!!!!

  12. Reply

    Suzan

    June 25, 2019

    Such patience, Karla. A wonderful way to assist her, honor her feelings, & allow her to realize it’s ok to have those feelings.

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 25, 2019

      Thanks, Suzan. Every day, each day, just being consistent and safe and letting her feel what’s true.

  13. Reply

    Marisa

    June 24, 2019

    awwww, poor baby, Imagine being told not to cry. Thank you for your patience, love and for taking her in.

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 25, 2019

      I agree! She was such a sweet, tiny thing at that age and had been through more than most adults. Cry, little one! Cry and heal!!!

  14. Reply

    Karie

    June 24, 2019

    These poor children what they go through. They are so lucky to have people like you. God bless you!

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 25, 2019

      Thank you, Karie! We need more of me. There are so many kids who need a safe place to cry while their adults figure out their stuff. ๐Ÿ™

  15. Reply

    Paloma Cotton

    June 24, 2019

    You are one amazing woman! Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. Beatrice is one lucky girl.

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 25, 2019

      Thank you, Paloma. I am such a lucky mom, too. We are blessed!

  16. Reply

    jen

    June 24, 2019

    Your stories always tug at my heart strings. Thank God for people like you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 25, 2019

      Thank you, jen! I enjoy writing. I hope to inspire folks. I am blessed!

  17. Reply

    Leigh Ann Newman

    June 24, 2019

    What a touching story and I love your approach to letting her show her sadness while still learning to function.

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 25, 2019

      Thank you, Leigh Ann. Yup! Even sad people have to brush their teeth. ๐Ÿ™‚
      She has learned SO much along the way.

  18. Reply

    Angela

    June 24, 2019

    Such a sweet post, the end says it all – she can be in her own skin with her own feelings! Sad is ok!

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 25, 2019

      Thank you, Angela. She still carries a lot of anxiety but is wonderful about knowing what she is feeling. So many of these kids need someone to teach them these things!

  19. Reply

    Haley Kelley

    June 24, 2019

    These kids are so fortunate to have someone like you available to them to love them and guide them while you have them. My husband has family members whose kids are in foster care and it has been extremely hard for them but knowing the family they are with are so good with them eases the heartache a little bit. Thank you for all you do.

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 25, 2019

      Thank you, Haley! My prayers for the kids and I am pulling for their adults to get things in order! It is a very hard journey!!!!

  20. Reply

    Robin Frields

    June 24, 2019

    What a beautiful story! Brought tears to MY eyes! Thank you for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 25, 2019

      Thanks, Robin. Your tears show a tender heart. Keep it soft!

  21. Reply

    Stephanie Dee

    June 24, 2019

    Now I’m crying. You are an angel. The struggles these children face are so horrific. For someone to step up, and step in, allowing them the freedom to heal, is a blessing that cannot be overlooked. Best of luck to Beatrice and Alice, and all the rest of your children. Yes, I said it. YOUR Children. Because that is who they are.

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 25, 2019

      Tears here, too. I love these kids SO much!!!!!

  22. Reply

    Jennifer

    June 24, 2019

    What a wonderful woman you are!

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 25, 2019

      No, I have wonderful kids. WE are all blessed!

  23. Reply

    Holly Bird

    June 24, 2019

    What a truly inspiring story..We need more foster families like yours! Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 25, 2019

      Thank you, Holly. We definitely need more foster families! They don’t have to be like me. Everyone has their own strengths and abilities and loves. Thank you for reading.

  24. Reply

    Laura Lee

    June 24, 2019

    Such a sweet, sweet story. Keep doing what you’re doing!

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 25, 2019

      Thank you, Laura Lee!

  25. Reply

    Cynthia Mackintosh

    June 24, 2019

    OMGosh! You just made me cry! What a beautiful little girl. And THANK YOU for being a foster parent and a great example for Beatrice! I love the photo of her smiling big! You’re an inspiration.

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 25, 2019

      Thank you, Cynthia. I love your tender heart, too. This life is such a blessing!

  26. Reply

    Joanne

    June 24, 2019

    This made me cry ๐Ÿ˜†

    • Reply

      Karla

      June 25, 2019

      Aw. You have a tender heart, too!

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