Sunday, February 16, 2014

About Kids

We found out on Friday that the judge has signed the reintegration plan for the foster kids we've had since October. They will be going home March 7. Since we learned this, we've really thought about if we want to foster another set, or if we're done with kids.
   I had made mention before that I felt obligated to be a mom, because my husband really wanted kiddos. Well, we discussed that in depth this weekend. One thing he told me is that after dealing with the kids we have (plus the ones we've had), then he would be OK with not continuing to foster. I asked if it was because of me not handling things well, and he said only partly. The other part is that he realised being a parent is hard!
   To those of you who are parents, I'm sure you said "DUH!" in your heads, and rolled your eyes. Honestly, I did, too. But the thing about my husband is that he is SO optimistic. Truly, in his head, we would get foster kids, and it would be like a sitcom. Sure, there would be problems, but they could all be solved with communication and a teensy bit of effort. And the reality that some kids, some problems won't be fixed no matter how much work we put into it really threw him for a loop.
   His idea was that we would take in foster kids, teach them good behaviours, love them, and then they would go back to their parents-"fixed", if you will. Unfortunately, our long-term placement has a girl with severe behaviour issues (which we weren't told about before placement). These will probably never be fixed, especially as she is going back with her enabling mother who blames her actions on her ADHD, or meds, or possible Autism. (She's not at all autistic)
   He is having a hard time coming to realise that everything we've worked on with her for the last 5 months will probably mean nothing after 3 weeks with her mom. He's kind of idealistic, and sometimes reality is hard for him.
   However, he mentioned that the family we're considering pursuing adoption for (that we've never met, only read their online profile), is already kind of an emotional deal with us. We've imagined them in our lives, in our home. We have plans for remodeling the house that involve these kids. I have my hopes that this family will want a milk cow (named Sunshine), and will help us turn our acreage into a proper farm.
   So we've decided to continue to pursue these kids. Their worker says their behaviours are far milder than the kids we currently have. They are older, and have had more stable placements than our current two. Overall, they seem like a better fit than the ones we have now. Plus, we would spend the rest of our lives wondering "what if" with this family. Or at least I would.
   The interesting thing is, with this potential adoptive family, I don't feel obligated to be a mom. In fact, I'm the one pushing for more info. I'm the one who has already made a place in my heart for them. And I know, if the Best-Interest Staffing meeting doesn't choose us as an adoptive family, I'm going to be crushed.
   Waiting is terrible. But that's what the foster system is about.


  1. Foster kids are very draining, though. They come and go. They are frightened. So it is harder than most parenting not that parenting isn't always hard. Also, yes, a lot of hurts are never healed. When I had one kid, I was told the goal was to keep the kid from jail before she was 18. Too pessimistic for me, but after realizing the extent of her abuse, I finally understood. I think the lesson is that life is about picking the same people up over and over, and that is a picture of love.

    1. I'm a parent (never been a foster parent) and I 100% agree that foster parenting is harder than the usual type of parenting. It has to be. When you start off with a baby, they do have their personalities, but they are much more of a blank slate than, say, a 7-year-old. Parenting my 7-year-old works because I've raised her from birth and I know her; I don't think I could parent someone else's 7-year-old.

    2. Lana-that's what we're dealing with. Hard truths that you don't want to believe, but have to. Though sometimes it's hard to WANT to pick someone up again.

      Athena-Thanks for your support! I've nearly driven myself crazy because parenting was much harder than my Mormon upbringing made it seem. (Just love em and teach them about the Book of Mormon-it'll all work out!) It's been really difficult for me to admit that these are just harder kids. Because it's so much easier for me to say that I'm the failure.

  2. As a parent I'm definitely NOT saying "duh" and rolling my eyes. Fostering is very difficult with some very unique challenges and anyone that thinks that they have all the answers because they're comparing their own experience with their bio kids that they've raised since birth to yours is a total moron.

    Perhaps it was a bit naive to assume that you could simply "fix" all the problems these kids are facing but it would also be a mistake to believe that you failed to make a difference. If nothing else you gave them a safe, secure environment during a very traumatic time (and unfortunately not every foster home is safe) which is no small feat. Anyway, I wish you the best with the children you're trying to adopt. I haven't been online as much these past couple months (I'm trying to be a better mom to my own kids) but I still think about you and like to check in every so often. If you ever give up blogging I'd still love if we could email every so often.

    1. :) I'm glad to hear my mother-in-law is a moron! (I already knew that, though)
      And it's true. We've heard horror stories about foster homes that are more dangerous than the birth families homes! It's awful.
      I will email you! I promise.

  3. As usual, I agree with everything Angela said above.

    I'm glad that you and your husband are smart and caring enough to sit down and really communicate with each other. I know it seems silly, but there are so many people who don't or can't. I hope the people responsible for the best interests of the children you would like to adopt can recognize the love and stable home that you are offering as they make their weighty decisions.

    1. Thank you for your constant support! I know I would be so much worse off if you haven't had come 'round my blog and given me advice and been uplifting to my soul. Thank you thank you thank you so much!

  4. (Sorry about the late comment. Life intervened!)
    The thing about dealing with kids who've been abused is that you may never know if you've made a difference. But even if you only spent a short time with them, the odds are good that they benefited.
    There's this thing called "sympathetic witness." (See quote below).
    Being a "sympathetic witness" doesn't mean that you literally witnessed the abuse. It means that you may be the first and only persons who treated the kids the way they should be treated - even seeing their flaws up close. A deep part of them will always remember that they are worthy human beings because YOU TREATED THEM SO.
    This quote is from
    "The difference boiled down to one common element— the presence or absence of a “sympathetic witness.” The abused children who grew up to be successful, functional adults had, at some point in their history, an adult who listened to them and believed their stories,"

    1. I'd never heard of a sympathetic witness before. That's pretty neat, though I think my husband is the more sympathetic of the two of us.
      (He thought it was snazzy, too, btw!)