Wednesday, May 24, 2006

"Josie" Meeting

I work in a small town. Small enough that the population is more easily measured in hundreds than any other unit...which makes it all the more remarkable that they have such a great school for special-needs kids. This is the school that "Josie" attends, and it's the one where we had our semi-regular "Josie" pow-wow this morning.

I had to get up early, because it was scheduled for before work, and then I had to go into work before that to put out a fire, as they say. The Wife had to stay with "Angel" (still no PCA and the guardian wants "Angel" to never be in a car with less than two people, making The Wife a virtual prisoner from the time I go to work until "Josie" comes home from school) so I was there to represent us.

I finally met "Josie's" psychologist who by chance I hadn't previously had the opportunity to meet, did my best to ignore the county social worker while remaining polite as possible, warmly greeted her teacher and the uber-counselor I've mentioned fondly before, and settled down to business.

We went around the table and had our say, and every single person there except the social worker and me made a point of mentioning that "Josie" was doing much better, now that she was back in regular foster care with reduced home visits and someone to monitor her meds and actually, you know, parent her. I didn't bother to join that parade because I figured everyone else had said that part, plus it seems self-evident to me. Anybody who saw her for five minutes before and five minutes now would have to be under 8 or very slow not to see it.

"Josie's" also getting straight-As, behavior is much improved, and the staff at the school is delighted that we've managed to pull her once again out of the all-crisis-all-the-time mode so they can work on some of the more subtle issues that have been buried for so long.

This girl is flowering and beginning to love and trust us more each day. She's often a great help with "Angel", she's got a great sense of humor, and best of all she called me later at work as I was just about to take a break and asked if we could have lunch together. 10 minutes later we were ordering sandwiches in a local cafe, my favorite because it has a 50s theme and the owner is a great guy who has a tip jar set up whose contents go to sponsering a child through Compassion. The Wife and I sponsor three kids, two of them through's a great outfit, which is why it's in my links.

We talked. We sat in silence. We laughed. We looked at movies that were on sale while waiting for our sandwiches. We ate, we talked some more, we generally bonded. As I drove her back to school, I told her it was really fun to take a break and spend it with her. She seemed pleased, and The Wife mentioned when I got home tonight that she seemed to like having lunch with me. We'll definitely do that again.

My life just keeps getting better and better. I know there have been bumps and bruises over the last year, but overall these are the best days of my life. In the last few months it's dawned on me that my current life has now surpassed the salad days of college when I was wild and crazy and made the best friends I ever had.

How rare is it that you can state with confidence--without needing the benefit of hindsight and time to get a better perspective--that you are now, today, in the middle of the best period of your life so far?

I'm there. I'm a happy man. Hope it keeps on this way.


At 6:15 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow!! What a peaceful picture. But I don't understand the 2 people in a car thing for "Angel". Have a good rest of the week!

At 8:04 AM , Blogger Dan said...

"Angel" has the nasty habit of taking her seatbelt off while on the highway, plus she's prone to tantrums (usually not violent but you never know). That's not fun for ME while going down the highway, and for The Wife it's just plain not good. There needs to be two people whenever possible, a driver and a wrangler.

At 9:26 AM , Blogger Julie said...

Are ya'll considering adopting Josie aswell?

At 9:57 AM , Blogger Dan said...

"Josie" won't be adopted. Her mom is still very much in the picture, she's 15, and there just isn't that sort of feeling about her. She's more of a family side project that's full-time now, but will continue on some sort of basis for many years, I think. She'll probably come visit us after she leaves the house, even if she moves away from town. We'll always have a place in her life most likely.

That's not to rule out adult adoption if she really wants it sometime. My foster/adopted sister didn't officially join our family until she was mid-to-late 20s, I believe...but she was my sister from the time I was about 8 and she was 12 or 13. I see this situation through that lens, I guess.

Plus, "Josie" is every bit the same kind of sneaky little brat my sis was when she was that age.

At 10:33 AM , Blogger Garrent said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. I'm so happy things are working out. It's amazing how human-like a teenager can be when given half a chance.

They say that the most worthwhile things in life are not easy, so I guess Josie is definitely worth your time and effort.

Continued Kudos to you and yours for a job going well.

At 12:35 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohhhh.. ok... i totally understand now.. Me and my wife went through the same thing with a previous placement. It just never dawned on me. lol. They say the mind is the first thing to go in old age. I'm already there. lol Have a great weeken, Dan!


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