Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Irony of Foster Kids

When we first got married, we wanted a passel of kids. And by that, I wanted 8, and he wanted at least 12. We were going to be the large-brooded, homeschooling, homesteading Mormons that everyone would look up to. I would be a stay at home mom with a blossoming baking side business. Our kids would be smart and clever and good. We would be understanding and have great relationships with each kid (who we would have plenty of 1-on-1 time). In short, we would be perfect in every way.
   We got pregnant rather quickly after getting married, and though that we were on our way to our goal. We started dating in April, engaged by May, married in July, and pregnant by September. We thought it was funny that 6 months after we started dating, we were expecting.
   But the pregnancy ended soon after we found out about it. Technically, it wasn't a pregnancy at all, and my body just thought I was pregnant. (Blighted ovum)  When I went to the doctor for some anti-depressants, he sent me to a shrink for counseling. Turns out I had undiganosed bipolar, borderline personality disorder, and ADHD.
   Still, we kept trying for kids. Every month I would cry, because I felt like a failure. I began to hate pregnant women, and would look away if I saw one. I was convinced I was worthless because we couldn't reproduce. Couples that had gotten married after us were spitting out baby after baby after baby. We were looked at with pity in church, and in our small social circle. I cried a lot during this time. Baby clothes, diaper commercials, pretty much anything baby related would reduce me to tears. We felt sure we were going to get pregnant again, soon, so we stocked up on baby stuff. A crib, changing table, clothes, Bumbo, cloth diapers, baby gates...it's now sitting in the garage, because I can't bear to get rid of it. We even painted a room to be a nursery.
   Somewhere between year 1 and year 3, that changed a bit. We had time to get to know each other, I got medicated, he got a better job. We realised we had tons of free time, extra money (because I worked), and enjoyed hobbies outside of the house.
   But still we felt...empty. We still wanted kids. So we looked into foster care.  Finally, we got them. And here's the irony. After all that crying, praying, screaming, hating and wishing for kids-now that we have them, I find myself missing the childless life. I miss my free time, our TV marathons, cooking whatever I wanted. The kids (who are OK kids most of the time) have court on Dec 19, and a part of me hopes they can go back to their mom.
   Neither my husband or I are sure if we want kids after these guys. My answer changes daily. There is so much that I want, and I'm not sure if kids fit in. I wonder if we'd be happy with forever kids. I wonder if we'd be happy without kids.

   It's ironic, because I spent so much time hoping for kids, and now that I have them, I wonder how soon they are leaving.
   And still, I feel like a failure.


  1. "My answer changes daily." So does mine and I've been a mom for 7 years now, lol. There are things about my daughter that make me incredibly happy and there are things about spending time without my daughter that do the same thing. It sounds as if you and your husband have grown so well together that you will be happy with or without kids.

    As for feeling like a failure, perhaps your background has set your standards too high. From what I read I don't ever see a failure, I see a beautifully imperfect compassionate and vibrant human being.

    1. "My answer changes daily." Lol, I had the same thought!

    2. Thank you! And I'm glad to know I'm not alone with my flip-flopping thoughts.

  2. 8-12 kids? Yikes! I imagine that foster kids would be tough. It has to be rough on everyone for the future to be so uncertain. Plus it really would be best for them if their mom was cooperating and their permanent home was a safer place to return to.

    Obviously I have no idea whether becoming permanent parents would be right for you. But I know you won't be a failure either way. You aren't your parents and are in a place to provide a lot more stability than they gave you. On the other hand if you choose not to parent then are are a myriad of other ways you can contribute to society. In fact as a non-parent you would have A LOT more opportunity to volunteer your time and energy to causes that matter to you. It's really just a question of which lifestyle is better suited to your unique talents and interests.

    1. Yeah. I look back on it now and just think WTF. In that regard, I'm glad we get to decide how many (if any) we want.
      From what the case workers say, the mom is doing what she needs to. I just hope that it will be permanent, and the kids won't go back into the system in 6 months (my personal prediction).
      Thanks for your insights and support! I've talked my husband about-if we don't decide on forever kids-mentoring or BigBrother/BigSisters. We'll see!