The Blanchard Bunch

The Blanchard Bunch

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Scared on Arrival

**One note: I use the name Kim in this particular part of the story because that's what we called her then. She is officially known as Sissy and will probably never let me hear the end of it for calling her Kim so many times in the story below. Something tells me I'll owe her quite a bit of sweet tea for this one.**

Many, many hours after receiving the approval for us to take in all four girls, the oldest two were finally ready to be brought to our house. We weren’t exactly sure when they would be arriving, didn’t know what they’d want to eat for supper or if they’d even be hungry, or anything else about them except that they were 13 and 15 year old girls. We did find out that their case manager was none other than our lovely Kendra! She had just moved from being a Family Social Worker to being a Case Manager for the children and we were taking in her first four children. We knew right away that this was truly meant to be.

Todd ran out to Wendy’s a little after seven to grab some supper for the three of us while we waited on the girls to arrive. He got back just minutes after Kendra pulled into the driveway with the two oldest girls. They were nervous and scared and looked so very pitiful climbing out of her van. They were still in their school clothes and clung to each other for dear life. The older girl, we learned, was Kim and the younger was Amanda. They had been with Kendra since about noon, and were most definitely hungry. Todd prepared to head back to Wendy’s to get them something to eat, but we quickly discovered they had no idea what Wendy’s was or if they would even eat something from there. They pretty much only knew McDonald’s and KFC; we don’t eat at the golden arches, so KFC it was. Todd ran back out and got them some supper while I showed them their new room and gave them the quick tour of the house.

Amanda never let go of Kim’s hand and even sat in her lap when we made it to the living room to chat. She wouldn’t even go to the bathroom by herself; Kim had to be with her at all times. We were told that they were both very street-smart, but witnessing them together, we found it hard to believe at first.

None of us knew what to expect of the situation, so we just decided to wing it. We asked the girls to tell us a little about themselves and within 15 minutes, I had Kim’s whole life story. She held nothing back and amazed me with her honesty and willingness to open up about everything in her life to a complete stranger. Amanda didn’t say much, but Kim asked her if it was okay for her to tell Amanda’s story and she consented. So, I learned Amanda’s story in the next 15 minutes. One thing was certain, Kim could talk!

Our first observations about the girls were that they loved each other unconditionally, they were both malnourished and unhealthy looking, Kim was one happy child who smiled all the time and Amanda was very quiet, shy and rather scared of the whole situation. Looking back on the photos of them from those first few days breaks my heart.

Both girls were very concerned that their nieces, the little girls we’d gotten the original call about, hadn’t been located yet. The little girls’ biological mom had taken them on the run when she found out DCS was coming for them. Apparently, this is not an uncommon practice among parents whose children are being taken into state custody. I’ve never seen two young girls worry about anyone or anything the way Kim and Amanda worried about their nieces. They actually cried when we got the call saying they had been located and were on their way to our house. There were plenty more tears once they actually arrived.

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