M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Tuesday, March 01, 2011  

Post-Modern Family

Trash and M. Edium and I had originally planned to drive down to Iowa to see her mom this past weekend. I don't know if I've ever mentioned this before here, but I'm pretty sure I haven't because it's kind of a long story.

It's not just her mom we see when we drive down. We also see her stepdad. And we also see her three adopted sons, ages four, three, and two.

I should probably explain, but don't expect it to be funny. A few years ago, Trash's mom, who was retired, decided to become a foster parent. If you've never done this -- and I certainly haven't -- what it involves is basically making yourself and your home available to host kids who are, as they say, "in the system." Most of these kids have been through more hell in their short lives than you and I will from now until we die, so it's all about creating a safe, stable environment. Or as much as you can given that it's not really meant to be permanent.

Anyway, Trash's amazing mom had, at different times, a dozen or so kids who were with her for a while who then got to go back home after their respective parents got their respective shit together. Then she was asked to be a foster mother for a toddler whose parents were abusive.

We know this about those parents because the toddler had a baby brother who was a year younger. Or we should say, we know there was a baby. The parents didn't seem to. Judging from his condition when my mother in law got him, they seem to think they had a loud, smelly houseplant. I'm not going to go into detail regarding the extent of neglect and abuse that was visited upon this child in the first half-year of his life, because that's behind him now. The good news is that at three and a half, he's been walking for almost a year, he can speak a few words, and his skull is much more symmetrical than it used to be.

But at the time my mother-in-law was given responsibility for this almost-completely-wrecked-before-it-started human life, the non-parents who brought him into the world were pregnant with a third child.

Let me assure you that these kids weren't just "taken away." The parents were given more than one chance -- too many, if you ask me. Long story short, by the time the third son was born, the State of Iowa was pretty well convinced that these people had no business being parents of anything, ever.

So that left my mother-in-law, pushing sixty and responsible for three small children, all under three years of age, while social services looked for someone to adopt them. And that's another long story, but you can probably imagine how a search for adoptive parents for three brothers a year apart, the middle of whom has special needs, went. They came back and told my mother-in-law they might be able to find homes for them all. Homes, plural.

So rather than split them up, my mother-in-law adopted them all. Which effectively put an end to her career as a foster mother, but launched her new career as an actual mother (for results of her first child-rearing career, please see Trash and her two siblings).

I don't know how she does it. I remember how exhausting it was just having one kid at those ages, and we got to have them one at a time instead of all at once. Last weekend, the youngest one got sick and spiked a fever so high he had to spend a couple of days in the hospital. We were going to go down and help out, but then the middle one got the flu and we didn't want to risk exposing M. Edium. I feel bad for not feeling worse about not getting to help supervise four small boys for the weekend.

But the long-term situation remains unchanged. These kids' birth parents, thanks to a plea bargain deal, are not only not in jail but merrily churning out more kids in a different state somewhere. And my mother-in-law is busy raising three toddlers while in her sixties. Sounds like a Modern Family spinoff waiting to happen.

I guess we'll have plenty of time to supervise them all eventually, is what I'm saying.

posted by M. Giant 7:20 PM 7 comments


I thought I was doing pretty good taking in a foster cat when I was 40, but adopting three toddlers at age 60 is saintdom. Please let your readers know if we can help out at all (Amazon wish lists, etc.) All the best to your MIL and your three brothers.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 2, 2011 at 5:36 AM  

Yes, please let us know if there's any help that can be provided from afar! What a story. God bless.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 2, 2011 at 6:49 AM  

Yes, someone that giving surely deserves some help from strangers! I have a 3 year old and a one year old and can't imagine throwing another toddler into that mix.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 2, 2011 at 8:24 AM  

Um, wow. Holy crap. Do you think those boys would want some crochet Star Wars guys? Or space aliens or hedgehogs or anything of the type?

By Blogger Jen, at March 2, 2011 at 5:14 PM  

Amazing! I know Trash is proud of her mom!

By Blogger SharonCville, at March 3, 2011 at 7:35 AM  

PLEASE spill the journalistic beans on that retarded couple. Leave an anonymous tip for a local reporter; or better yet, go for the full-on Deep Throat. Get the records and name those fuckers in the press. It's the only thing anyone will pay attention to.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 3, 2011 at 2:09 PM  

Amazon wish list or other kind - please let us know how we can help! Maybe even a spa certificate or housecleaner fund for MIL?

- JeniMull

By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 4, 2011 at 8:06 AM  

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