November 12, 2012

Another change for Biker Boy


“I hate how things change,” Biker Boy said to me. We were sitting at the pond yesterday, watching ducks swim on a summer day that had trickled into November by mistake. The scene was peaceful, but that’s not what was going on inside Biker Boy's eleven-year-old head.

Longtime readers know that Biker Boy used to live on my street. I’ve known him for four years. When he lived nearby, he and his little sister used to come visit me every day, escaping from a home in which he was not safe. A smart reader told me once that I should teach him my phone number – and I did. “I’ve got your phone number in my heart,” Biker Boy always says.

For the last nine months, Biker Boy has been living in a foster home on the other side of the city. It’s been a safe place for him. But it wasn’t a permanent situation. This week he will move again – to a new foster home in a small town about 25 miles away from me. The change was sudden news for him: he found out at school on Friday.

Yesterday, Biker Boy and I ate pizza because that’s our tradition. Then I asked what he wanted to do. He wanted first to come to my house. For a little while, he acted like his old self – joking around while we took zombie photos to put on twitter. Then he wanted to drive to the railroad track that we used to walk to. Then we stopped to see the little house that my older two kids rent so he could say hello to them. Then we stopped at my parents’ house.

Biker Boy is usually a high-energy kid, but yesterday he was not. After we visited everyone in my family, we drove to the duck pond and took a walk. He didn’t run around like crazy the way he usually does. I didn’t have to tell him even once not to chase the swans. He sat quietly in the sun and leaned his head against me.

“I hate change too,” I told him. I rubbed his back. Then we kept walking around the pond.


kathy a. said...

oh, no. 25 miles away. a new school; a new house. nothing familiar, and no friends. the four years he has known you are half the life he remembers.

he knows by now that you and your family are there for the long haul, and that is really great. he needs to hold that as close in his heart as your phone number.

i'm crossing fingers that the smaller town will be an accepting one, and that his new home will be both safe and welcoming. will you have a chance to let his new foster family know how much yours cares for him?

kathy a. said...

also, it is really crappy to drop a move like that only a few days before it happens.

i wonder if BB might be interested in adding correspondence by mail to the phone calls and visits? kids don't think of that so much, any more, but there is nothing like getting a postcard or letter; and writing is -- you know this -- very therapeutic.

jo(e) said...

Kathy A: His caseworker, his therapist, and the child specialist involved know me -- and I have been approved for visits. So I will still be able to drive out and pick him up and bring him here for visits. I'm hoping that I will be able to talk to the new foster parents soon. I like the idea of him getting stuff in the mail -- I can do that once I have the new address.

I don't know the whole story so I don't know why he was given the news so suddenly.

susan said...

Ah, rats. It seemed like that foster mom "got" him. Poor kid. Too much change.

jo(e) said...

Susan: I know. He and I both thought he was going to stay there, too. He said he cried himself to sleep Friday night. I still don't know the whole story, but everyone I talk to says this is typical -- kids like him end up moving around a lot.

kathy a. said...

he mostly needs stability, but this boy, and at his age, he needs structured activity to work it off. i hope that turns up for him.

what do you think of your online friends sending you postcards from all around, for you and your family to send him from time to time? his world right now is small and scary, but there is a big world of wonder out there (and a lot of love for him). i'm thinking out loud.

beemama said...

Oh, please please please let the new home be as good as this last one was . . . it seemed like a safe landing spot for him, at least for a while :(

susan said...

Oh, poor Biker Boy. What a change, right in the middle of the school year...I hope his new home is as safe as the one he's leaving now.

Taradharma said...

I can't even imagine the shakey ground his world rests upon. Thank goodness for you--a steady and reliable figure in his life. I'm sending him all my good wishes.

Sylvain said...

i have been reading your blog from a distance for a while already.
actualy, your relation to biker boy kept me in reading, cause it kind of realtes to my own story.

i am appalled. it hurts "back", alot. are he and sister moving together at least ?

two thoughts, kind of creepy : EVERYTHING that has happened to him was crappy AND came from adults that were supposed to be in charge, and from something bigger than them that is the Law. it is not a fake, i have been through this, with my sisters and a large bunch of mates. it is going to be very hard for him to hold back. probably impossible, as it was for us. and then comes the war time.

there seems to be only one thing that holds him down on the ground and up inside him, is you, your family and his sister. when you desapear, then what ? blank. 25 miles is a WORLD.

all these thoughts, and guts to write it, comes from the impression from your w=riting that he was bidding farewell to all this. he was not talking about change, but about loss.

sylvain, Paris, France

Sylvain said...

humm ... maybe you should read what i wrote as being 90% of me and my story. i rekon i can't talk on what's going on for him, as i don't know him and all i witness is through you first (but i very much trust your story telling), and me then (that is not much pacified, as you may guess from my post).

too much distortion.

i hope he goes on well, his sister, and you and your family too.


jo(e) said...

Sylvain: Yeah, I think you're right. He seems to be grieving -- it's about loss.

He won't be moving with his sister. She's been living in a different town with her biological father. I haven't seen her in over a year. I don't have any way of contacting her.

Liz Miller said...

Sending hugs and love to him and to you. I'm so sorry that he can't stay with his current foster family.

I highly recommend care packages, maybe with something it them from your whole family.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

My heart hurts for BB and his little ponytailed sister, as well as for you and your family. I'm glad that you will be able to maintain contact with him.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry about this.

evi said...

wow. this news is upsetting. why was he removed from that home? did the foster parents make that decision? i hope you know what a buoy you are in his life. my old therapist once said "as long as you have just one person somewhere in your life that loved you enough (not even over the top) -- it will be a huge factor in your own journey of self healing." You are that blessed person. You've already changed his life.