And they are learning and growing at an amazing rate.
They are two truly fabulous little people.
Filled with laughter and love and mischief.
All the good things toddlers should be made of.
These are not the two children who came to me in February. Those children were damaged.
And I have spent six months putting them back together.
And once a week I am reminded that they are not mine.
Once a week, and sometimes twice, they go on a visit with their mother.
They call me mama. mommy. (dada.) Every day.
They hug and kiss me daily.
And this poor woman sees them for two hours a week. Sometimes less.
And last time I dropped them off for a visit?
I had to pry them loose and listen to them cry as I walked away as their mother reassured them:
“It’s okay, it’s mama. It’s mama.” I could hear her sadness.
This woman who is pregnant with her fifth baby and never passed the 7th grade has 4 children with a man who has tested positive on his last 8 drug screens.
And he has 4 other kids he doesn’t take care of.
And the state is doing the best it can to give them both as much of a chance as they can to raise their kids on welfare and government subsidies for the rest of their days.
I find myself less and less liberal as days go by.
As I hear about how these two individuals use and manipulate the system to squeeze as much as they can from the state.
It makes me ill.
And it makes me sad. Because this woman?
She loves her kids.
Not in all the right ways or even for the right reasons. But she does love them.
And even with that, I know they are better off with me.
And I think in her heart of hearts, she does too.
At the last family planning meeting she cursed about the friend who had taken in her kids when she was too high to care for them and then dropped them off a month later at DHS because she had had enough.
She is very, very mad at this woman.
When I asked her why?
She said it was because she just “dumped her kids”.
And I knew.
I knew that if she ends up losing her children, it will not be her fault.
It will be the fault of the woman who “dumped” them at DHS and got her into this mess.
This woman who took in 4 kids who weren’t hers and then cried uncle when their drug addicted parents wouldn’t leave her alone.
Apparently dad kept showing up and harassing her for money. The money she was getting for taking care of his kids.
He wanted it.
And so she took the kids and dropped them off with the city.
And if the children end up with another family, it will be this woman’s fault.
This woman who tried to help a friend when she needed it, and couldn’t.
She will be blamed.
The fact that she had the kids because mom and dad were spending all their money on drugs and had lost their housing and were out on the street with 4 kids won’t be the reason.
Because that would mean taking personal responsibility.
And this mother does not understand the concept.
I hope she loses.
And I hope these wonderful children stay with me.
For more reasons than just because I love them.
Which I do.
They call me mama.
And I act like one.