The sheets in the middle bedroom are rumpled.
I remember walking past that room for months, trying to imagine what this might look like. I wished for another bedroom that look lived in. I wished for toys and books strewn across its floor. I wished for the day we would stop calling it “the guest room” or “the second kid’s room.”
It has a name now. It’s BlueJay’s room. It’s our (foster) son’s room. The sheets in that room are always rumpled now.
Along with the sheets, everything else in our lives feels a little rumpled, too. The whole house is rumpled – dishes sit in the sink, laundry sits in baskets, stickers lay forgotten across my dining room floor.
My emotions are rumpled. Maybe a few of my relationships are even rumpled. I have close friends I still have not spoken to on the phone since BlueJay was placed with us a month ago. They text me questions I can’t believe they don’t know the answers to until I realize, Oh right, they’ve been waiting all this time for me to fill them in.
This is harder than I thought it would be. It’s more all-consuming than I could have possibly prepared for. Foster parenthood doesn’t exactly lend itself to breaks. It is all we live and breathe right now. Even my dreams are filled with foster placement scenarios I am forced to consider. I wake up disoriented and wondering things like why on Earth we agreed to take in a teenage girl when we’re already mentally and emotionally maxed out.
It’s fuller than I thought it would be. Our lives are full in the way I always wanted them to be. We have a house full of noise. It is full of childhood laughter. It is full of music and singing and the sound of kids playing. It is full of life.
It’s not perfect. Of course it isn’t. Nothing about raising kids is ever perfect. We’ve had our share of frustration vs. joy and tears vs. smiles.
We’re rumpled. So very, very rumpled.
Just like we wanted.
For those who want to follow our foster care journey more closely, you can read my Foster Parent Diary series on the New York Times’ Motherlode blog.