By P. Berman, K. Hecht, & A. Hosack ,
NO....it’s today! I can’t. I don’t want to. I must!
Claire had a knot in her stomach. She was holding her pillow against her stomach and trying to go back to sleep. She didn’t want to wake up. If she did, she would have to take the National Dental Hygienist Examination. It included 350 test questions! Despite all her hard work, it was this test that would determine if Claire could get a job as a dental hygienist.
Claire would need a score of at least 75% to pass this test. Claire had an 84% average in school. That brought her no comfort; all her thoughts were of failure. Yet, she couldn’t fail. The Carsons had used their own money to pay the $440-dollar fee required to take the exam. Claire had promised she would pay them back out of her paychecks each month. Of course, there would be no paychecks if she didn’t get her 75%.
The Carsons acted as if they weren’t at all worried. They had planned a party for her next month to celebrate her “victory” of graduating from school and getting her license to practice. They were sure she would be spending next month looking for her first job as a hygienist! Ms. Alexandra had already promised that she was coming to the party!
Claire was putting her feet on the ground to get up right as Davy ran in screaming excitedly for her.
It’s pancakes mommy. Pancakes with raspberriesbecause it’s your special hard day!
Claire couldn’t resist Davy’s excitement. She grabbed his hand and they both ran down the hallway and jumped off the bottom staircase onto the floor with a huge STOMP. They rushed into the kitchen and Davy fed his mommy her first taste of pancakes. Looking into his happy face, Claire felt happy too- at least for now.
After breakfast, Claire’s stomach felt a little queasy, but she went upstairs and spent sometimes just looking at her fish and remembering how hard she had worked. She closed her eyes and tried to imagine her fish, and lots of other fish, just swimming calmly through her mind.
Mrs. Carson came upstairs and tied her hair in a French braid. It was Claire’s favorite hair style and they had picked it together as something to remind her that she was loved. She could tug it gently if she got scared during the test for good luck.
When Claire entered her class room she noticed that all the students looked nervous. She wasn’t the only one. As the exam was handed out, Claire gave her braid a small tug and felt better. She sent a small prayer to God for help, picked up her pencil, and began the test.
I don’t deserve love. But, the Carsons and Davy do love me. I won’t let them down. I will pass this test.
Claire is bright and hard- working but she would never be where she is now, taking a test to become a dental hygienist without the Carsons. If you agree, consider taking a social advocacy step and telling people you know to consider becoming foster parents. You could call your local Child Protective Service office and talk to their foster parent coordination. Or, you could look at the materials on the National Foster Parent Association website at: https://nfpaonline.org/ to figure out of being a foster parent was right for you.