Miss D is a loving, strict woman who had been doing foster care since the early 1980s. She once told me that of all the children who had been placed with her over the years, Ashley was the most challenging. Ashley is a child to whom the words "obstinate" and "strong-willed" have been applied, though my husband and I prefer "free-spirited." In any case, she gave Miss D a run for her money, but Miss D, to her credit, never gave up on her as previous foster mothers had. Ashley and Miss D had adapted somewhat to each other, and things had been going relatively well in the months before my husband and I came into the picture.
Unfortunately, Ashley's way of separating from Miss D in preparation for the transition to our family was to begin acting out. The social worker explained that this was normal and happens frequently in such situations. It was a sign that Ashley was ready to move on. All would have been fine if only Ashley could have moved in with us at that point, but because we were stuck in red tape, she had to stay at Miss D's, even though it was clearly no longer the right place for her.
Oh, how I dreaded walking up to Miss D's door to drop Ashley off. Ashley didn't want to go. I didn't want her to go. And Miss D was overwhelmed with the stress of dealing with the behaviors that Ashley was exhibiting in her home. She would meet me at the door and vent. I didn't blame her. I was frustrated, too. But there we were, stuck in a situation that neither of us could change.
I am happy to say that when I walk up to Miss D's door now, as I occasionally do with Ashley when we return for a visit, it is with much lighter emotions. She is delighted to see how Ashley has thrived in her new, permanent home. She laughs and tells me how worried she was that my husband and I would not prove up to the challenge of parenting this particular child, and how happy she is to have been proven wrong. I in turn am grateful to Miss D, for the love and safe haven she provided to Ashley on her journey.