Last week I sent letters out to all of the foster families that Tortuga had lived with over the 7 years he spent in and out of foster care. He only spent a weekend or a month with some of these families but there were a couple he lived with for more than a year. I included a picture of him and requested any information, pictures, and/or anecdotes they might have about him and his time with them. Given that he has isolated memories but no context for most of his experiences prior to joining our family I was hoping I'd get a little information to help me round out his lifebook. (I have been trying to work on that for awhile and I wrote about that here.)
I was absolutely thrilled when my phone started ringing earlier this week. I have now heard from 3 of those moms including the woman who was his emergency placement the very first time he entered foster care (he and his older brother were there for one night) and then two years later she had him for a long weekend. This woman rattled off several memories she had and included two anecdotes from her son about his time with Tortuga. She also emailed a whole bunch of pictures of him as a 4 year old! Even her parents got in on the activity and it turned out they had some pictures of him from a birthday party he attended so I am now in possession of about 25 more pictures than I used to have. This woman has had over 250 emergency placement in her home over the years. She has kept a log where she notes everything she is told about the child and their circumstances for being there in the middle of the night usually and then she adds her own impressions "just in case someone asks." I am so grateful that she kept those brief notes because it is a piece of my son's life! Her notes also answered a couple of questions we had about 2 significant memories he had attributed to his birth mother. She also noted that I was the first person to ask for this information and that made me sad.
Another mom didn't have any pictures but supplied a few wonderful stories and her observations of Tortuga and told me some details about his background that I had never heard before and will have to follow up on. The last foster mom I have heard from wanted me to know she had "lots" of pictures of him and she had instructed her children to bring them out of storage so she could go over them while she is laid up next week recuperating from major surgery. She was so excited to be able to share those pictures with someone "who cared" and said she took them in the hopes that someone would want them someday.
I am overwhelmed by how positive the response has been so far. I had hoped to hear from maybe ONE of these homes but THREE! None of them had heard about his fate in the time since he was placed with them and they were all so happy that he had found a forever home. I am ever so grateful that these women had the heart and forethought to keep these bits of his life for all those years.