When we woke the next morning, my first call was to the shelter to check on how Marcus was doing after we dropped him off the night before. His shelter case manager, we’ll call her “Kathy,” picked up the phone immediately.
“What happened?” I could hear the concern in her voice. For all of the stories I heard before becoming a foster parent of case managers who are burnt out and don’t care, I never had the misfortune of encountering one. Kathy cared. She cared a lot.
I walked her through the events of the prior 24 hours: the movie theatre incident; the Barnes and Noble standoff; his running away at night.
When I was done there was a pause before she spoke and when she did, her voice trailed off. “Oh my goodness…”
She asked me to write an e-mail to the team (my licensing worker, his DCS worker, Ivette, the behavior specialist that had worked with Marcus with his prior foster family, and her) detailing the events of the prior day. She explained it was important to document what had happened. She would reach out to his DCS caseworker to plan an emergency Child Family Team meeting (“CFT”) to discuss what should happen next and how to help Marcus.
Then, she asked me the big question: “Do you want to continue matching with Marcus?”
My stomach tightened. I was emotionally and physically exhausted. The thought of another day like the one we just had was unfathomable. I wasn’t sure I could make it through again. But I had told myself the day before that each hurdle with Marcus was an investment – a step towards trust.
So I took a deep breath. “We would need more support.”
She waited for me to continue.
“But, yes.” I hedged, “We’re open to trying.”
She told me to get some rest and that she would be in touch with the team to schedule the emergency CFT.
I went back to bed.