The Heart of Foster Care: A Letter to Miss Six

A little girl in a princess dress and crown holds a stuffed animal.

By: Foster Mama MS

Dear Ms. 6,

            You arrived in a storm.

            It’s okay, I whispered, sliding under the kitchen table next to you. I’m scared of storms, too.

            I didn’t sleep the first night week month ever again, slipping into your room to make sure you’re still there.  “If you get sick, or scared, or hurt,” I reminded you endlessly, “you just come into my room and wake me up, or call my name, and I’ll come to you.” You nodded thoughtfully.

            “So if my blanket falls off me in the night,” you said triumphantly, “then I’ll call you, and you’ll come fix it.”

            “Girl, no,” I replied. Spoiler alert: it did, you did, and I did.

            Things you have taken over, Week One: my pillow, my blanket, my closet space.

            “How was school?” I asked. Yes, excellent. Great question, Marissa. YOU ARE CRUSHING THIS, BABE.. You shrugged.

            “We had snack, and lunch,” you replied. “But learning? I have no idea.”  

            I met your parent for the first time. I tried not to make it awkward but TBH that’s just how I roll always. I slid automatically into our shared language. “Look at this,” I said, pointing. “She’s basically memorized these books already!” You whipped around, horrified.

            “HEY! RISSA, stoppit! I can’t understand that! Talk in English, capiche?!” I met bio’s eyes in the laptop screen. We both choked back a laugh.

            “Well,” your parent said cheerfully, “then I think it’s time to learn!”

Things you have taken over, Week Two: my iPad, all the space in the refrigerator (I had to buy carrots. Carrots are an abomination), my favorite coffee mug.

“I wanna be someone else,” you said, idly splashing in the (organic, plant-based, lavender-scented) bubble bath.

“You do?” I asked mildly, making sure to speak into my hairbrush/walkie-talkie. “How come?”

“Because I do!” you huffed.

“I hear you,” I said steadily. “I really love you being just how you are.” You glared at me.

“NO! Rissa, no. I wanna be a fairy princess!” I sagged in relief.

“Well,” I offered meekly, “um. You’re the princess of this house?”

“Please just stop,” you sighed. “Also I want you to call me princess all the time, ok?”

            Things you have taken over, Week Three: All the space in the medicine cabinet (SO MANY HAIR THINGS) (which I definitely DO NOT STEAL) (whatever you have cute scrunchies so sue me), my bedside table (“My squishies want to stay here”), the backyard (so you can train me in gymnastics. “Rissa, that was…not great. The goal was 102.” “102 what, though?” “Rissa! 102! Now go over there and sit down, I need some personal space.”)

I printed off the pictures I’ve taken of you and sent them to your family. “Thank you for taking care of her,” your parent texted me. “You made my week.”

            “I want to see the ones you sent!” you insisted. I took out my phone and showed you. You nodded in approval. “I look GORGEOUS.”

            “Yes you do,” I agreed. “You are.” (You are).

            We discovered a mutual love for flowers. Any time we left the house, you threw your arms around the cherry-blossom tree out front. “I LOVE this tree,” you declared, every time. “Can we live in this tree?”

            “ABSOLUTELY not,” I replied. “You think I’m sleeping on this branch? With my back?”

            “So bring the beds outside.” Which, honestly, fair. 

            I have always loved to sing. Only to myself, though-I have always been just fine singing to the rhythm in my own head. The rhythm has changed, now. And honestly I really don’t care for changes.

            But, well. It turns out this new song is actually a pretty epic harmony.    

            Things you have taken over, Week Who Even Remembers: my family groupchat (seriously nobody even asks how I am anymore!!!!!! Rude you guys!!), my calendar (both literally and figuratively-although WHY you need my actual calendar I do not know; like I’m sorry but do you have a secret social life to keep track of that I’m not aware of?? and if so you’re much cooler than me which seems both unfair and also deeply accurate), my mailbox (hey do want the electric bill in your name too cause let me know!!), and my-oh come on, you knew this one was coming-my secret stash of sea salt caramels from Whole Foods.

            RELAX I’m kidding, it’s my heart. I’m talking about my heart.

            Thank you for letting me love you. (I love you).


PS no YOU’RE cute!!


JRI Service Navigator

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Rachel has been a part of the JRI team since January, 2000. For over 20 years, Rachel has been working in the field of human services assisting families with accessing and navigating services. Rachel received her Bachelors degree in psychology and Masters Degree in Public Administration from Bridgewater State University. She was promoted in July 2005 to Family Networks Program Director where she closely worked with the Department of Children Families for 10 years ensuring that children and families received the highest quality of individualized services ranging from community based through residential care. Rachel is very dedicated to helping the individuals she works with and is committed to improving the lives of children and families. Rachel’s passion for creative service programming inspires her in her role as JRI Service Navigator.