We are in the process of starting therapy. The kids are all undergoing a full blown trauma assessment, complete with questionnaires and activities designed to show their response to stress. Simon and Smiley completed theirs a few weeks ago and now Sarah and Stella are undergoing theirs.
The assessment is going to take longer for the older girls. They have been slower to open up about their feelings. They are each reacting very differently which means we are going to have the same at home when they start attaching and healing and feeling safe with us.
To be honest, I'm not really looking forward to that. I know that angst will be directed at us. And a large amount at me because I'm the safe Mom. I'm not the Mom who isn't working her case plan. I'm not the foster Mom who ceased contact. I am the stable Mom. The one who shows up every day.
As we were waiting for their session to begin Sarah was playing "Guess My Favorite" with Stella. She asked, "Who's my favorite Mom?" Her answer was Sheila.
For 1/2 a second my feelings were deeply hurt. And then after a proper internal chiding, I was grateful it wasn't the foster mom who asked for no contact. (Who had now requested contact again so I'm sure ill be blogging about that at some point.) And then I felt bad for thinking that as well.
Of course her biological Mom is her favorite Mom. It's her mother. That's why her answer should be. And this beautiful little girl had no idea how little her Mother is doing to get her back. And she is not aware, that after only four months, I love her as if she were my own. That I think of her as my own because the case looks like its heading toward adoption. In her eyes, I'm a poor substitute for the Mother she longs to be with every day.
Stella, ever the oldest child, said to her "well maybe you need two favorite Moms" in an attempt to spare my feelings. I said nothing and did not react.
I forget how real this gets. But it was that moment today that I realize how much I do care about these kids. How I think of them as mine. That is how I will advocate for them but also how my heart gets broken. It's scary to be here again. But I survived it before.