Our first call came at 3am. A two and a four year old were being pulled from a meth lab and needed a home within the next hour. Could we take them?
All of a sudden we were more than awake. But still not thinking clearly. What questions were we supposed to ask again?
Our license is for 3-13 year olds, 2 kids…are we even allowed to care for a two year old? The social worker nonchalantly informed us that is simply a guideline. All we had to do is say “yes.”
But “yes” isn’t that simple.
How big is the two year old? Do we need to buy a crib and a different car seat? Is there a 24 hour walmart nearby? Can we find a daycare? Can one of us take off work until we find a daycare? What if? How should? Can we?
After fifteen minutes of intense problem-solving and uneasy deliberation, we said “no.”
It was difficult to go to sleep the next few nights. Wary we might get another call like the first. Still wondering where those two kids ended up.
We will never know.
When we say “no” we sit with the no. Not knowing whether the kids go on to find another family. Or whether they never find an opening and end up in a group home or institution.
We hope for them. But there is also a sadness, a fear and a pain.
For me, this happens every time. Some are harder than others. I might have heard more of her story or taken longer imagining him in our home. Sometimes we know right away we can’t say “yes,” but other times it takes days to determine if schedules and daycares will align.
Their faces are blurry as I never see photos. Only my own ideas of what these sweet kids might look like. Guesses of what their personalities might be.
The “no” doesn’t change our world like the “yes” does. But it hurts it a bit. Knowing hurts.