By K. Hecht, A. Hosack, & P. Berman
It is hard being a mother. One minute Davy seems to love me, and the next he screams so loud that his face gets red and he looks like my dad does when he is about to beat me.
Claire wants to just follow the advice of the 30-little-ways-to bond article. It told her that it wasn’t whether she was “loveable” or not. It was if she was “responsive to Davy” so he learned to be “responsive to her”. If she picked Davy up when he cried, even if she couldn’t figure out why he was crying, she was being a responsive parent and Davy would respond to her in return; this back and forth between them was what led to a strong mother –son bond. Claire is excited by the idea that what she does has an impact on Davy’s feelings for her. He would always love her as long as she was responsive to him!
The Carsons are pleased that Claire has taken their advice and begun taking Davy for walks around their back yard, so she isn’t inside all the time. They are also all taking turns reading stories to Davy after dinner and this has been a very relaxing way to end the day. But while Claire doesn’t have crying jags anymore, she still swings back and forth between feeling overwhelmed and feeling excited; the Carsons find her extreme moods are really tiring them out.
Things don’t blow up because caseworker Alexandra stays in close touch with them. Having her to talk to keeps the Carsons’ stress down. They keep feeling inadequate because Claire needs so much more from them then their own children did. Alexandra reminds them that It is okay to do not have all the answers. Alexandra tells them that they have already given Claire more support than she has ever had in her life.
Until moving in with them, Claire had never lived in a safe, caring home. When they think about it, they realize Claire has given them many indications of how much their home means to them. She is always gently holding their possessions and telling them how beautiful everything is. When they gave her a framed picture of herself holding Davy on her birthday, she had burst into tears and held the picture to her chest saying it was the most wonderful gift in the world.
Claire loves living in the Carsons’ house and walking around their backyard; everything looks so nice- nothing is broken. She has begun to help out by doing the dishes and vacuuming the carpets. Unlike her parents, the Carsons always smile at her and tell her what a big help she is; living with them is like a fairy tale come true.
The Carsons have become very attached to Claire and Davy. They are never lonely anymore and it gives them joy to watch Claire and Davy growing up and knowing they are needed. But it isn’t a fairy tale for them. Sometimes they talk to their children about how hard it is to “raise” Claire and Davy. Their children don’t understand why they are doing this to begin with. They should just be taking it easy during their senior years. That is not what the Carsons want. Many other seniors are like them, they want to do something meaningful with their days.
Claire asks the Carsons after dinner why they took her in? They said they were considering fostering a young child but then came across a video on the internet. They watched it again, this time with Claire and Davy. Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=12&v=Mtc2Yh4QOwE
Claire hugs Mr. And Mrs. Carson, and hold Davy up their faces and tells him to give them a kiss; he doesn’t know how to kiss yet but he leaves a wet spot and smiles. Claire tells them she has never been happier in her life and doesn’t know what would have happened to her if they hadn’t taken her in.
Claire was very lucky the Carsons were available to help her. In 2012, over 58,000 children were unable to be placed in foster homes because none were available—the need is great, especially for older children.
Do you know anyone who wants to do more meaningful with their life? Consider watching the YouTube video with them. You might be helping to save a Claire and Davy.