Last week, Pastor J and I opened our hearts to emergency foster care for two kiddos, 4 and 2 years old. This was also the same day that our 17 year old was being sent b
The kiddos came in with stories that only they can tell but suffice it to say they needed to be loved from the moment they walked through our door.
Little Princess wasn't much for conversation. She babbled to herself but cursed fluently. Little Man Short Stuff was less verbal and used hitting and kicking as a way of getting his point across. I got a left hook twice in the ear before I wisened up.
Before long, their hearts were softening and they were beginning to relax into the only thing we knew to give...love.
Flash forward,..McDonalds. Every kid recognizes the golden arches and as we drove into the parking lot, the kiddos were applauding and cheering. They quickly ate and scrambled down, wanting to go into the play place for kiddos. While Little Man Short Stuff ran back and forth, Little Princess climbed up the steps into the abyss of the play place. With her Happy Meal toy in hand, she gave her best smile to a kid across from her. She threw the toy, hitting him accidentally.
He called her a poop. I stood up, inching closer to hear what other mean kid words he was getting ready to spew. He yelled, "Run! Here she comes!" The kids began screaming and asking why they were running from Little Princess and the mean kid's reply was, "Because she talks like a Boxtroll," Little Princess didn't understand that she was the butt of the joke and kept moving closer to the kids as they ran faster and hid from her. She went towards another kid and that kid screamed and ran, I saw a look of bewilderment, mixed with fear on her face.
That did it for me! The claws came out! I felt tears welling up in my eyes as I stood looking up, hands on hips, calling her to come down. I didn't want her to be humiliated any longer.
Panic set in as Little Princess stood and tried to figure out how to get out of a place where she wasn't welcomed. She reached above her and then towards the fenced in area. Pastor J ran up the stairs to the play place, waved his arms and called out to her. Little Princess saw him and went flying into his arms, crying.
I stood there, staring at the kids as they realized their game was over. The parents began calling their kids to put on their shoes because it was "time to go".
The kiddos were stared at as one of the kids looked at Little Man Short Stuff and asked, "Why does that girl have a boy Happy Meal toy?" (Little Man Short Stuff came with two ponytails and as foster kids, the state forbids their hair to be cut or altered.) The parent said, "I think that he's a boy!"
"Why is his hair like that if that's a boy?" the kid asked.
I grabbed Little Man Short Stuff's hand and didn't wait for an answer.
I couldn't shake the anger. It stayed with me even as we drove home. Later, as they fell asleep, I replayed the events in my head, disappointed by the kids, the parents, even my own lack of saying at that moment what was running through my own head.
I watched Little Princess while she slept and I couldn't help but wonder how she'd handle the mean kids the next time.