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Monday, June 29, 2015

Just Done

My post from yesterday about the insensitive family members didn't save or publish. :( I've decided today that I'm tired. Tired of fighting others for what comes so naturally to me. Acceptance. Of other children. Of other families- of all shapes and sizes. Of differences. 

We fall into that category. We are an adoptive family. My children are not my "natural" children. They don't look like me. They come from another culture. A different economic class. We aren't seen as an equal to biological families and the world seems determined to remind me of that today and I'm just done. D.O.N.E. Done.

It's not the same kind of fight as racial equality or marriage equality but it's in a similar category. How my family is formed doesn't really affect how your family operates so why do you feel the need to belittle it? And the fact that you don't even realize that is what your are doing, says more than your hurtful words and your turned down nose. Why can't everyone just stop being jerk faces and worry about themselves? 

*******
I spent part of my day writing a letter against sibling visits with the new baby. It goes against everything I believe in but highlights everything that is wrong with the foster care system: Policies that don't address every situation and leave no room for common sense. Foster parents who bear the brunt of poor decision making on the part of others and kids who languish in limbo. Not to mention resources burned through for the fun of it. I actually included a sentence that if the court process had been timely we wouldn't even be having this discussion. I also included a sentence to the effect: If you people pulled your heads out of your asses you wouldn't be giving her a chance to inflict trauma on a 7th kid when she walked away from 6 others and this would be moot because the sibling would just be placed with her siblings for adoption and by the way the other two in the other state she left behind haven't been kept in contact with so why do you think my four or the baby would be different? It might have been written a tad more tactful.... 

The really, really sad part is that I'm not sure the letter from us or the therapists with the clinical recommendation is going to help and I have feeling deep down that the state of Illinois is actually going to pay an agency to drive 4 kids ages 6-10- an hour each way to go sit and stare at a baby.

Oh but Foster Mom R- you could supervise. Ummm no I can't. Because if I'm being really, really honest with myself I want a baby more at this moment then I ever have in all my life. Now when it makes no sense, and it's clear I couldn't do it without all kinds of medical intervention, at the worst possible time in terms of other crap we are dealing with and all kinds of other responsibilities, I want a baby. And I would get attached to the baby that is not meant to be mine and it would trigger my unresolved grief of my fertility and I would fall apart with each visit. 

So clearly I need to get on the ball and get myself back into therapy to talk some of this crap out of my system. Because I've got the above mentioned other stuff I have to handle.

Monday, June 22, 2015

An Open Letter to the Biological Family Of My Children

Dear People,

I've been thinking a lot about you lately. Wondering why it is that none of you showed up for my kids this time.  Don't get me wrong, it's my good fortune that you didn't, but I can't help but wonder why the Hell not?

There are tons of family members that I've found on the Internet. Were you unaware that these kids needed a family? Didn't you wonder what had happened to them? Is their Mom that much of a nightmare that you thought it best to stay out of it?

I'm just perplexed by it all. I look at their beautiful faces and I think "you would have to pry them from my hands before I'd let you give them to someone else". What is wrong with this family that they you don't think that also? My only answer is to imagine you were lied to and I wonder if learning the truth would make your heart ache, the way that mine has as I've learned of the abuse and neglect they suffered.

Do you have any idea how odd it is that I now have legal standing where the baby is concerned over any of you? 

Do you know I dream of meeting you someday? I dream of you sharing stories about when my kids were little and helping them understand this great big family tree. I dream of being able to say that this child looks like so and so. I want to be able to give that gift to my child. 

I worry that you won't understand our adoption. The nuances of adopting children from foster care are sometimes hard to maneuver. I worry that the realities of their biological family will hurt my children. I worry that you will be more appealing and that my kids will fantasize about you (more than they probably already are). I worry you won't respect my role as their mother. And at the same time, I'm worried you will reject them if they seek you out.

I know there are more siblings.  I wonder how similar their personalities are.  I wonder if they are safe.  I wonder if they will ever know about my children. 

~Foster Mom R

Rules To Calm Sarah Down

As I mentioned, Sarah has been struggling.  I'm not sure if its the delay in the adoption or if this would have happened organically as she continued to attach.  (It's really easy to blame Bio Mom, but I have to admit, she probably would have done this anyway.) She gets so very angry.  Its hard to imagine, the peanut that she is, can scream the way she does.  Its shrill. Its primal. Its exhausting for both her and us.  But man when she is committed, she is committed.

Last week her therapist and her worked on a list of "Rules" for us to follow when she is tantruming as they are supposed to help her calm down. The rules include getting her a drink of water and a tissue, allowing her to use hand signals, and an order in which to hug her.

We used it earlier in the week while at a restaurant and it worked really well.

At home, not so much.  It was Father's Day and it was largely my fault. 

I just couldn't take finding the pee soaked pull up where it was not supposed to be for the 3rd day in a row, after discussing where it was to go the day before and the day before that.  Additionally, I discovered the offending pull up while investigating an alleged biting over a bracelet. 8 1/2 and 6 years old were the participating siblings. 

I yelled. I yelled loud.  And she started to cry and yell back.  And then we were stuck in the tantrum for an hour. I tried to let her follow her Rules.  Then she decided she was going to slam the water down on the table and splash it everywhere and rip the tissue I handed her into shreds and throw it on the floor.

I'm going to need a bunker when my girls hit puberty because if this is what it looks like at 8, I'm in some serious trouble.

Somehow, Hubby and I were able to get our wits back and try the "Rules" again. And we were able to get back to normal.  We are trying to remember that this is a healthy sign that we are parents she can yell at, but it sucks to be in this spot. For all of us.

We have a parent coaching session this week to keep moving us forward.  But really I just want to lay down and take a nap.  I think the stress is beginning to really take its toll on me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Next Month

We were told this week that the baby to be, will be coming into foster care unless Sheila or the alleged father name family. Sheila will not be bringing the baby home from the hospital. 

Social media and discussions with Caseworker #3 point to Sheila writing off my four and focusing on the baby. I guess she's starting to work the case plan. (Which she's able to do for a few months and then she falls behind making no progress.) It makes me very sad. 

How do you walk away from 6 of your children?

Then she told us that the foster family they are likely to place the baby with is a potential adoptive home. And that hit me like a ton of bricks. I guess it never dawned on me that the placement for the baby would be adoptive. We've said if there were no visits we would take the baby (expedited termination). But it's not fair to have another family fall in love with the baby and go through the process to have us come in and ask to be the adoptive home because we have the siblings. We would have standing, but that doesn't seem right. And that makes me sad too.

 It's all cart before the horse but I guess deep down I was really hoping we would get that experience and another beautiful daughter to love on.

And then I go back to the anger that I 1) have to think about this at all 2) that it affects me like it does 3) that this system is so broken. The kids are caught in all of it and then we get the fallout.

Let's add in the DCFS phone calls because we have an empty bed and all the other stuff happening in our life and I've just had it.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Game 6

Piece of paper or not- this family is prepared to cheer on their team tonight. 
#myplayoffmoment #onegoal

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Rough, Rough, Night

It's been a long time since I've had to restrain a tantruming kid. I actually contemplated calling the risk assessment team because she was so out of sorts. Even after she calmed down, she escalated to another tantrum a few hours later.

Sarah is really struggling with the feelings of love she has going on. It's all fear based that we will go away. Prolonging her visits until the trial did not help her in any way. In fact, they are hurting her. She spend her evening in a panic attack/tantrum. Screaming at the top of her lungs- I need space. You don't understand, I can't breathe.

There were some you aren't my parents, calling us by our first names and a few I hate you'd for good measure.

Did I ever tell you about my theory that if your kid tells you they hate you when you are correcting their behavior, you are doing it right?

Sadly, I lost my cool with the other kiddos. Admittedly, I'm tapped out and it's only Tuesday.....

Each tantrum, wet bed, crying jag only seems to fuel my anger at Sheila. Which makes me feel angry at myself. Ugh.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Behavior

So ever since the court date we've had a return of daily bed wetting (and the hiding of wet sheets).  We've had several potty accidents at school. We've had a ton of disregulated behavior, struggles at meal time, and have now introduced morning crying jags about hair brushing. 

Of course the visit this month falls on the last day of school. I almost feel like emailing Bio Mom and relaying this information along with a nice note about the added stress she placed on them and the happiness they will exhibit at their visit will be totally fake. I want ask her to reassure them, but why would they (or me) believe her. It wouldn't matter anyway, she sees all this as Bio Dad's fault for not showing up. 

It's going to take a long time for me to forgive her for this choice.