We have all heard horror stories about kids in foster care. These stories weighed heavily on my heart before becoming a foster parent. Stories of toddlers eating their own feces or rubbing it on the walls kept me awake at night. There was one story I had heard about children that were found eating a deer carcass because they had been left alone for days and were starving. Stories on the news showing foster teens that killed their foster parents in their sleep put a chill down my spine.
As for us, I never really worried about a child hurting or killing my family because our availability is only for young children. Of all things, my children being hurt in any way is my main concern. For this reason, our home is not open to any children that have been sexually abused, exposed to any sexual activity, or have acted out sexually or violently.
Right now, I’m not sure our story qualifies as horror, but it’s definitely not a story of tranquility. Up to this point, I have been reluctant to share all of the things Evan has done and said while in our care. Part of what makes me who I am is my ability to keep the peace. Confrontation gives me anxiety. Knowing people will be judging me based on what I write is a hard pill to swallow.
I am sharing our story because I know there are other children out there like Evan. I want to learn from other parents that have already climbed my mountains. More importantly, I hope reading my words will help another parent that is struggling. Sometimes we feel helpless but there is always help!
One day, my daughter was telling Evan about the baby chickens we had last year. She told him how she hoped to get more this year because the coyotes had got them. He excitedly spoke up, “I hope we get baby chickens this year so I can step on them and kill them!” I was so shocked by what he said that I didn’t say anything at the time. I called his case manager and therapist to let them know what he had said. They both agreed that he must be repeating something he had heard someone else say.
A few days later we had a home visit from the state worker. I told her the story about the chickens. She was concerned. When he came in the kitchen where we were sitting at the table, she asked him how he had been. He ignored her question and shouted “I wish I had a real gun!” She asked him why he wanted a real gun and he replied, “So I can shoot baby deer.” She told him how that wasn’t nice and he shouldn’t want to hurt baby deer. He quickly got distracted by the kids playing in the next room and ran in there with them.
To my relief, the state worker didn’t brush it off. She told me there are three things to be concerned about; children that talk about or hurt animals, children that wet the bed, and children that like playing with fire. He does wet the bed but from my experience, bed wetting is common with foster children. Anytime a child has experienced trauma, they have a greater chance of being a bed wetter. We have not had an experience where he had contact with fire. We are not smokers and did not burn firewood this winter. Still, he has two out of the three.
Again, I told his case manager and therapist. Again, they seemed unconcerned and said he had to be repeating something he had heard. The main thing that makes me uneasy is that he wants to kill baby animals. If he simply said he wanted to shoot a deer, I would think he probably had known someone that hunted. Since these two incidents, there have been a few more times that he has talked about killing baby deer. I was instructed to ignore his comments. If he is searching for attention by saying these things, I should not give it to him.
Luckily, we do not have any pets or I would be on constant alert. It is possible that he is repeating something he has heard. It is also possible that if we get chicks, he will step on them and kill them. For now, we will hold off on bringing any animals to our home. Still, I can’t help but wonder what could have happened in his little life that would cause him to say these things.