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Thursday, May 10, 2012

I Hugged My Kids' Mom Today


It wasn't an easy morning and about 5 minutes after I hugged her I was in tears in my car.  Sometimes the emotions are just overwhelming.

We sat in this meeting and agreed to attempt to co-parent.  Ahh. co-parenting the en vogue trend in foster care and divorced couples. In our state if you file for divorce you have to go to a co-parenting class.  They don't exactly have a class like this in foster care. We have training on how to work as part of a team and the idea of working to help the family is drilled into your head but there is no "How to Co-parent With Your Foster Kid's Mother" class. There is no class for the birth parent where they get told "let the foster family help you that's their job".  In fact, the system is set up to pit both sides against the other.  Foster parents are charged with protecting and advocating, and birth parents are fighting to get their kids back. Then they throw something at you like co-parenting and you are like "What the heck?" I'm supposed to be supportive but that doesn't mean I'm going to be working on the plan too. I have enough on my plate.

And this is where it gets tough.  Having to rise above and live out what you say you are doing:

The best thing for the kids.

And this means different things to different people.  Is it best for them to be in a stable home with a big support system and resources to meet all of their needs? Or is it better to stay with their biological family, immersed in a beautiful culture and never question why their Mother couldn't parent them?

What if they can have both?

And then someone says to you - Can you help the kids not feel so divided and work with their Mom?

What are you going to say?

Its one of those moments in life where you are tested.  Are you really the person you like to think you are? Are you really a hypocrite? Do you really mean your response to people who tell you how lucky the kids are that you are really the lucky one? Can you put your own fears aside? Can you go do something that makes you really uncomfortable? Can you treat others how you wish to be treated?

And there it was. All on the table.  Do you love these kids so much that you can be the adult, the parent, the Mom? Can you do what you have accused her of not doing?

Our answer was yes.  We can help the kids. We can do the best for them.  We will do what is right. 

Its a hard concept to grasp and I'm sure we are all going to stumble.  We have to build a relationship of trust and understanding.  Its not going to be easy.  In fact I'm sure its going to be really hard.  At times it is going to suck. Alot. But if it means that I don't have to live my life wondering where my kids are and if they are OK then I will do it.  If it means I can have peace for the kids and they grow up knowing that while really terrible things happened some really good things happened too, it will be worth the discomfort. 

And while I made the commitment I'm still really scared.  And maybe I should be a little scared.  Maybe it will allow me to take things slower and let them come to me rather than my usual technique of push, push, push. 

I learned today that I am a Mom.  And that she is a Mom.  And that there should be room for both of us.  And I made that commitment to our kids today. And she did too.  That deserved a hug.


  1. I completely agree. I am co-parenting with Boo Boo Bear's bio Mom. She spends the weekends with us. At first it was overwhelming, but now it's wonderful.

    1. I'd love to read about that and how it came to be. And what helps it along.

  2. Excellent post!! I wish had read this when I was in my training classes. I tried to help our kid's birth parents but I didn't try as hard as I wish I had. Not because it would have made a difference in the outcome because they were not concerned about their children and refused to work their plan. But I think it would have helped my J and D to see I wanted what was best for them and I didn't take them from their birth parents.

    I am going to be on panel night (question and answer night) of the foster parenting classes in my county on May 21st. I would love to run copies of this and hand them out to the people in the class, if you would give me permission to do so. Just let me know. Thanks.