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Sunday, December 18, 2016

FAQs

I had some questions asked of me recently that I thought I would answer here:

1) How do you keep doing this after so much crap?
I actually had two different foster moms ask me this. One dealing with a false allegation and one in a kinship case with a pregnant, unstable bio mom.

I'm not sure I have an eloquent answer to this question. I think I've reached a point where I see the bigger picture - the kids.  That's not to say this stuff doesn't drive me nuts or make me emotional. I would be spitting fire if we had to deal with a false allegation. I'm really upset about the potential of having to make a decision about another baby. But if not me, who? We are good at this. There are kids that need me. And I probably need them. I am a caretaker by nature.  What would I be doing with myself if I didn't have 15 different obligations all at once? I have no idea because I've always been this way. And right now all of the current drama is related to my children. I signed up for them so I feel I need to continue dealing with the other stuff.

After 5 years of actively foster parenting I've seen all of this work out to the benefit of children.  The Fab Four have been with Maria for 3 1/2 years. The system ultimately helped them. Except for that whole Jelly Bean being molested by a foster parent thing, they are a foster care success story.  Solana got to be raised with her siblings and will continue to have a relationship with them.  My kids found a forever family and are healing from their trauma.

I have also gained from these experiences.  I have an empathy I wasn't capable of before. I have an understanding of the experience of others that I would never have bothered to pay attention to, had I not become a foster parent.  My soul is full knowing that I helped families, that I did something important with my life. If I die tomorrow, that would be enough for me to feel like my time on Earth was important.

I think there is a certain filter that gets applied after a certain amount of experiences where you can kind of step back and go - yeah, that's really not that big of a deal. I was wrong a lot at the beginning. I'm probably wrong a lot now too, but I try to view things through that lens now.  "The bio parents aren't evil they need our help" lens. And man after participating in some of these public forum with lots of foster parents, the bio parents really need our help.  I can't believe how much hatred there appears to be towards the parents.  I mean sure I recognize it, I was there once too, but I grew from it. Its really scary to me sometimes.

2) How are we doing?
We've been better and we've been worse. I don't know how much is holiday related and how much is just normal craziness with our lives.  Hubby and I are both slammed at work and are juggling very full plates. Somehow though we have managed to get to a really good place, maybe the best we've ever been in, in terms of sharing feelings, concerns, and listening to each other.  One of my biggest fears of Solana going home was that we would end up where we were when the Fab Four went home. We almost ended our marriage. It was ugly. Right now our struggle seems to be staying therapeutic. It seems our response to stress is to revert to old patterns of parenting that don't work.  So we are trying to get back on track with that. The next week marks three years that the kids moved in with us so some of it could be traumaversary related. Stella and Sarah don't seem to remember their initial reluctance to let go of their previous foster family but it was a really difficult transition for them.

I think we are seeing anxiety manifest itself in different ways from the kids and I'm hoping that being on winter break will help reduce some of their stress since they don't have homework and tests to worry about. They've gotten through 3 weeks of Solana being gone for overnight visits and I think they have seen how this might make things easier from time to time.  I think we'll probably have another 4 weeks before she officially moves. Hopefully by then our therapist's contract with the state will be signed because we haven't seen her in a month.

I think we will probably take a break for a while. I know I wrote on Facebook I sent an inquiry email about a kiddo but they found them a placement. And really, we have a lot coming up through June that I wouldn't want to add a child to.  Perhaps once Solana has been with dad for 6 months we will be ready to make a decision about continuing to foster. Smiley has said a few times "we should get another baby we can keep". I guess at this point I can't rule anything out. Seems a shame to waste these skills, LOL.

How is everyone else? Are you hanging in there? How do you keep going after all the crap?

2 comments:

  1. How do I keep going? Love. And a reminder that if I leave just because things are hard, just because I can, that I'll never forgive myself.

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