Saturday, July 1, 2017

Hello Again

I closed my blog for a while because this blog was always about documenting my life and my life lately has been too difficult to document. It's not just my life anymore and as I hit publish I felt like I was exposing my family and one day they'll grow up and read and so I deleted a few things and it was just too hard.

It's all been too hard.

I remember reading about foster care prior to becoming a foster parent.

I remember thinking, why is everything so negative? Why are these families so exhausted? What's RAD, ADHD, SPD, and a host of other diagnoses?

How can a child have PTSD?

Once you take a child into your home and they are safe and feel loved isn't that enough?

Isn't it enough to discipline and show affection and provide for all their needs?

It's not.

One of my least favorite things to hear is, oh my "insert age" child was terrible when she was "insert age" too.

"That's just normal child behavior"

"Kids are hard"

"Parenting is tough"

Yeah, parenting is tough. Foster parenting is different. It just is. And unless you are right in the middle of the battle you can't possibly understand. You can't understand that while the normal kid behaviors are there they are also under a layer of other issues that are often mind-boggling when you try to comprehend.

So I felt like my complaining was coming across as...complaining. And it was making me weary because I was trying to make some imaginary audience understand what we were going through.

But I can't.

No one can understand.

I went, one night, utterly and completely exhausted, to a foster/adopt mom's get-together. Everyone had adopted, all younger kids, and they were all gushing about the Connected Child conference. I shared my story of what we were going through and what I got in response was, "oh, really...huh...well... you have to read the Connected Child."

I have read it. It's never been a magic solution with my kids. But the night got better <sarcasm> because then we got to watch videos on attachment parenting.

At that moment I was having a hard time attaching to my youngest, having a difficult time dealing with her disrespect and attitude and feeling less than loving towards her (I'm so thankful thats not the case anymore, it took time). But bring on the mom guilt. I texted Witt and said, get me out of here.

So I left. Left those three lovely women who through no fault of their own made me feel like I didn't belong. That I didn't get it. That I wasn't rocking this foster mom thing.

This week the kids were away, one at summer camp, one at my parents for a few nights.

I had forgotten what my life was like before they came. Forgot how peaceful, how quiet, how in control I felt of my own home. Sure, it wasn't perfect before. I was lonely, I wanted a family, there were things that I didn't like.

But it was my home again.

All the time I'm convincing myself, that this isn't about me. It's about pouring my life into these kids and making their lives better. That we weren't put on this earth to take but to serve. That Jesus laid down his life for me, can't I do that for them?

And I've been fighting...fighting...fighting...hanging on, trying to make it work, doing everything in my power to help...

But sometimes you have to let go of control.

I've prayed. I've curled up in a ball beside my bed sobbing for the situation on more occasions that I can count. Others have joined us in praying, are still praying. I'm still praying. But it's not up to me.

I'm making bone broth (this blog used to be about cooking, right?) and I put onions and carrots and thyme, pepper and a roasted chicken carcass. And it seems like a waste, to put all those big ingredients into the water because afterwards I'm going to strain it and throw it away and I'll be left with just the broth.

Is it a stretch to say that sometimes it feels like a waste to pour myself into this situation, to give so much time, money and effort and to feel like there is no return visible?

But just like I can't see the vegetables anymore in the broth, the flavor is there. It's permeated every part of the soup.

So that's what this journey is. It's pouring in, it's loving, it choosing, even if you don't see results. Because you may not. But they are there, underneath and everything you do as a foster parent is building up these kids, planting seeds, helping them to someday, hopefully, overcome and be able to live a successful life.

I just have to remind myself of that from time to time.

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