Lavender Bass & Foster Mother – Bonnie Matthews
Setting: Home of Bonnie Matthews
Bonnie: Hi. Thank you for meeting here. Lavender has been with me for about three weeks. Lavender is no trouble really, but she’s not adjusting well. She still cries about missing home almost every night and she seems depressed. If you’d like, I can show you the rest of the house, including where Lavender is sleeping. Lavender’s playing out back right now.
Me? I’m single. I work as a receptionist at an elementary school but not the one Lavender attends. I like the hours and I’m able to pick Lavender up and be home with her after school. It’s a pattern that works. I’ve been a foster parent for about five years now. I only take one child at a time. I’ve had different aged children, but I prefer the elementary school kids.
Lavender never attended a real school before. I guess she was home schooled, but it doesn’t seem like she learned much where she was before. Poor thing! Everything in her life is new and scary. Adjusting to school for the first time is hard enough without having to leave home too.
Lavender seems developmentally on target. She knows how to wash and dress herself—do self-care and all the usual things a 6-year-old would do. She’s a very quiet and shy child. Usually by three weeks I would have drawn a child out more, but Lavender remains somewhat distant.
Lavender spends a lot of time in the yard. Sometimes she seems engaged in imaginative play, but often she does what she’s doing now—sits and stares, like she’s spacing out. Sometimes in the house she seems like she’s just not there, not focusing or paying attention. She’s not being disrespectful or disobedient—she just doesn’t hear me. The teacher said she wondered if she’s got attention deficit disorder, but I don’t think so. I know ADD kids usually show more symptoms in school than at home, and honestly I think Lavender’s no more spaced out there than she is here. In any case, she’s doing fine keeping up with her school work.
I can tell she’s really, really sad. I told Lisa we should get her some counseling. I try to comfort her, but sometimes she seems to tense up if I touch her, especially if she’s not expecting it. I’m always very gentle with her, but I can tell she’s not feeling totally safe with me yet. Would you like to meet her? Let’s go out back.
After being introduced by Bonnie and after you’ve explained your role, you ask Lavender a few questions.
Lavender: I’m okay.
Living with Bonnie is okay.
I don’t really watch TV.
I don’t really have friends at school.
Can you please take me home now? I miss Mom and Grandma and my aunt.
When you say you can’t do this, she begins to cry. Bonnie comes over, and you explain you’ll be back to visit another day.
- How does it feel to visit with this child?
- What were you tempted to promise her? How might you try to comfort Lavender in this situation?