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Monday, August 17, 2015

Dear Foster/Adoptive Mom on the First Day Of School

This post is for you. This post doesn't talk about your children as babies or birthing them. The reminiscing of pregnancy will not be found in this post because I know for many of you, you didn't experience that. You've probably never seen a picture of your child before they came to live with you and if you have, it's probably not a baby picture or one that you would display because, when you look at it, you see a child who is scared and sad. It was likely swiped from a Facebook page of someone you've never met and is a window into atrocities that should never happen to any child, anywhere. There is no letter to my child's best friend Lambie or back-up Lambie because my child came with all his worldly possessions in a trash bag.

As back to school time rolls around so does the reminder of how much you've missed out on in your child's life. This might be the 1st time you are enrolling a child in school or it might be your child's 6th school in four years. It's a lot either way. Those other back to school articles, while touching and appropriate for the majority of Moms, leave you on the outside because your child, your experiences are different.  I'm here to tell you, you aren't alone. I'm here. I'm experiencing it too. Those articles, they rub me the wrong way. They make me feel less than. They make me hurt for my child and you probably feel it too. They make me angry that I am the one here and not the parent that brought them into the world and at the same time my breath catches at the thought they could be gone based on the decisions of people who probably haven't met them and certainly don't know that we picked the purple backpack because pink is "for babies".

While other parents might worry about the walk to the bus stop and finding the bathroom, you worry about your child's PTSD.  You worry that they are so behind they won't catch up. You will worry their visit tomorrow will mean they can't handle learning today and will present itself as behavior issues that the school will blame you for and make your job harder. You worry that someone will ask why all of your children have different last names and you won't be prepared with the prefect answer that shuts them down and shows your kid you love them.  You worry that you are sending them off to another school that they won't finish the year at. You worry that this being your 3rd time through grades 1, 2, 3, and 5th you will loose your mind when the animal research project comes home and it's the damn Arctic Turn again.*

I have no idea what it is to be a Mom of "typical kids". It doesn't make the worries of those Moms less valid, it just seems to me that mine are probably more serious at times. I sat and listened at the welcome night as a Mom complained that her child had to walk 2 blocks to the bus. Until last week, my kids were worried they wouldn't have a permanent home. And that's when I get angry about the fact my kids got the short stick and have to fight for so much just to be "typical". 

Back to school for many kids with trauma  is often triggering. And as a trauma parent you might be ready for that nonsense to be O.V.E.R. You may be hanging by a thread and that makes the first day of school a blessing and a curse because with it probably comes a different battle, to get your child the help they need. 

You foster mama- you are not alone. You can do it. Because you said yes when others walked away and said no. And you stay even if it's hard because it's not their fault. You love them and they love you, as much as they can, even if it doesn't feel that way. You are giving them what others couldn't or wouldn't. And that is more valuable the perfect chalkboard captioned pictures and tears at the bus stop. This day starts a new path. A path of hope. A view into how life should look and feel. For both of you because you and them are not less than. You are more. Way way more. And together, you make a difference. 

* (It's a bird, apparently children in my home have never heard of pandas. For once I'd like to research pandas...)

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