Wednesday, August 15, 2012
I ran into my Dad in my sister's baby's closet today--I certainly hope that he finds a new home before the baby comes in October :) I did love that he chose that container. The beach is one place where my dad took Heidi and I frequently on our weekend visits and it suits him. I also didn't even know you could get such special containers.
Friday is the two month mark. During a conversation with Evan, one night quite soon after Dad passed, Evan was expressing disgust at how my father just allowed his children to be given away. I immediately jumped to Robyn's defense, because I don't see it that way. This is the story that I used to give Evan some perspective on my father's relationship to me.
When I was 12, just barely 12, October of 1996. I had been in The Casey Family Program for about 4 years and a total of 5 families under their tutelage. This last family was older, much older, had their own adult children, grandkids, adopted children, and another foster kid from Casey. Unfortunately, she also had severe diabetes. She had lost her eye sight already and after I lived there for about a year---she had a major stroke.
This does not bode well for the youngest foster child in Oregon City. The older foster child and only other minor was moved to a Seventh-Day Adventist boarding school in Spokane (Seventh-Day Adventist was the most recent religion on my list). I was moved to a Native American family in NE Portland. Was I placed in school? No. I was given a tutor for 2 hours a week. Was I supervised? No. I was given bus money and literally spent every day either watching TV or going on the public bus system alone to go where ever. I had no cell phone because thatw as before every elementary school children had one. But I do remember during those bus adventures, I saw Romeo & Juliet on a weekday, first showing, with 3 other people in the theater. The other kids in the home were at school. My mother's 50th birthday shindig was while I lived there---and the last time all my siblings were together and talking to me was at Heidi's 14th birthday party a few weeks after Mom's party.
After several weeks, a decision was made. I was going to be placed in a Scientologist boarding school 90 minutes outside the city---but the caveat was the previous 4 years of therapy had to end. I continued to stay with the Indians for 2 1/2 months. Two weeks before I was destined to move to Sheridan, Oregon---Christmas Break---I was suddenly given a laundry basket for my things. I believe the "attitude" pushed them over the edge; maybe it was the zero experience with foster children too. Sixteen hours later, I was sitting in the office lobby of Casey. I was there from 8-5:30. In the back rooms, I know my case worker was desperately calling and trying to find a place for me to sleep.
At the end of the day, I was driven to North Portland to stash all my worldly possessions in Heidi's foster parent's garage. That family was LDS. Oddly enough, I had lived with them on a respite care basis when I first came into Casey at the age of eight, several years before Heidi had met them. I remember their house, and the basement bathroom the most. And that church was at 7:30 (4 wards met in that building)....we sat in the back of the chapel against the wall. I would fall asleep and be asked to read from books of scripture that I'd never heard of. I didn't know what was going on, even though I was raised Christian. Unfortunately, when my foster parents found out they were LDS---I was no longer allowed to go there because my family at the moment was non-denominational Christians.
So I dropped my belongings at Heidi's, and Heidi's is where I came back to the week before I moved to the Delphian School. However, the only person who was willing to take me the week before that...my dad. I slept on the couch. I remember it was awkward and most of my time was spent watching TV. But I had a place to sleep---no one else would take me, but he would. I somewhat wonder why Heidi's family wouldn't take me both weeks, where I spent that Christmas Day, and what the case worker was thinking placing me with a convicted child abuser---but Robyn stepped up.
I truly believe that my dad fought the battles that he could win. I also feel like he did what was best for us at several key places in my life. He did the best he could----even if for me it was a couch, a bathroom, and food for a week.