It looks like this post got some love this week in the Blog-o-sphere. I love when my old posts become new (to you) because it gives me a chance to go back and see how far we've come.
I write this blog with an honest voice: how I'm feeling at the time and what I've learned through this process. I often bristle at my own honesty and the post about Minimum Parenting Standards is no exception. I was angry then. Angry that we had to participate in the excercise. Angry that the circus of 7 professionals made it our responsibility, and angry that the case was moving so slowly.
That post was written a year before the kids went home. And even the week they did go home, I was still unsure that Maria was going to be able to meet her kids' needs. The greatest lesson I learned was that I had to trust a broken system.
I like to think we helped in the end. In the post, I wrote I didn't want to help Maria. And I didn't then. But then it came down to: do I want to watch my kids get hurt again by failing or do I want to build them up by helping their family suceed?
I don't think you can learn to love these kids and not pick the 2nd option. And a big piece that I was missing was that Maria really was working hard, I just didn't know any better. She had a lot to overcome. I know that now and I tell her how proud of her I am each time we see her.
This past weekend as she sat in the passenger seat of my mini-van, she excitedly shared news of the progress on her passport, immigration paperwork, and driver's license appointment. When I wrote that post in May 2012, there was no way you could have convinced me that a trip to the movies (or away for the weekend) would be in our future. Or that I would truly be pleased for her progress or side with her on parenting decisions. "You're Mom is right" often comes out of my mouth when the kids are telling me stories.
I really wish we could get to a similar place with Sheila. A positive, supportive relationship would be so much better for the kids. Right now in the case, she isn't ready to view us in a positive way. And I totally understand the point of view. I just wish it were different and my hope is that with time, this too will change.