God’s got this.
It’s so very easy to say.
Do I really believe it?
When life is good and perfect and going well, then yes. I believe it.
But what about when life is not going so well?
Do I still believe it?
Like when your foster placement falls apart.
He’s four years old and he throws tantrums the size of a mini tornado. His papers warned us that he doesn’t listen very well, but the first couple weeks we saw no such behavior, all we saw was a perfectly well behaved little boy who said, “Ok, mommy” to whatever he was told to do.
However the more comfortable he became here, the more his true self came out, revealing a temper the size Mt. Everest.
He no longer listened well, actually he no longer listened at all.
His temper tantrums escalated to the point where he was tearing down blinds, emptying closets, pushing around furniture (smaller pieces.) Then much to my surprise, he even dismantled a single bed. Somehow he flipped the mattresses off then pulled the bed into the middle of the room.
When I told him he needs to fix it, he told me: “But, I can’t lift it!”
That is why I still can’t figure out how he did it.
At first I tried to find a consequence for destroying rooms.
No luck, his tantrums only escalated.
Then I decided that I need to get to the root of the problem.
What was causing these problems?
I researched and read a mountain of books and blogs on this subject.
I learned a lot.
My final conclusion was that this kid is not getting enough one on one interaction. There’s five small kids around here and he was the oldest so he was the one being asked to do the most on his own, like bath himself, put on his own shoes, jacket etc.
He is capable of doing these things but every small child enjoys this extra attention from the adults in their lives, but with 5 kids to care for he was the one that most frequently heard the words: “I need you to do it yourself.”
We tried, we really did try, but after two weeks of trying to pour extra attention and love into his life we came to the realization that something has to change.
We simply are not meeting his emotional needs and the sad part was we probably won’t ever be able to.
With five small kids here we are stretched thin just keeping up with their physical needs, which left their emotional needs only partially taken care of.
The agency tried to help, they threw out different options. Maybe these options would have helped and maybe they wouldn’t have but the bottom line is this…
I want a family.
Maybe this is the part where I’m simply being selfish.
I don’t know, but I do know that I want a family.
To me family means a place to come home to where it’s full of love and peace.
I don’t expect perfect but I do expect a relaxed atmosphere.
With five small kids, my version of family disappeared.
What we had instead was a system. A system that pushed kids through like a product on an assembly line, and if the conveyor belt got tripped up somehow, it screwed up our whole system and the whole day seemed to go ca-fluey. (I don’t know if thats even a word but Checkers uses it sooooo…… 🙂 )
Usually bath time was spent splashing a bit with the kids, talking with them and over all just soaking them with some extra love.
Now bath time is spent pushing each child through our conveyor belt system because if we don’t move quickly and efficiently we might not get done before midnight!
Meal time is the same, instead of a fun family time talking about our day, we spent this time reminding kids to sit, wiping up spilled drinks and trying to keep food from flying all over the dining room.
Many times I asked myself, when is it too much?
When do I admit that I am not covering all the needs that need to met and I probably won’t ever get there?
At first I kept thinking once we settle in, it will get easier, but eventually I realized that we are settled in, we have found a routine and I still feel like I’m drowning, and it didn’t help that the agency kept adding more appointments to our schedule.
The bottom line?
Last week I reached my limit.
I realized that I am done. My family needs to be my priority. I can’t do foster care at the expense of my bio kids.
Blogging is also a passion of mine and through this foster care thing, in a way, I lost my right to blog about my life.
One question I kept asking myself was this:
Am I going to let foster care be a part of my life?
Am I going to allow foster care to consume my life? My identity? My goals? My family? My social life? Am I willing to give up who I am in order to care for these kids?
Am I being selfish? Maybe. I honestly don’t know the answer to that question right now, but I do know that I am not ok with foster care consuming my life. I am ok with it being a part of my life but it can’t push out everything else that matters to me.
So it really wasn’t one big thing that pushed us into calling it quits but more like a million little things.
So I contacted the agency and gave our 30 day notice.
The very next day I was talked out of this decision by a social worker.
And the very next day after that, this 4 year old of mine refused to wear his seatbelt and kept playing with the lock and door handle in my moving vehicle. I had a very real fear that he was going to open the door and bail out, so I contacted the agency again and told them that I really am done because it really is just too much and I was also a little worried about the state of my fraying nerves.
This final decision was made exactly one day before our world caved in a little farther.
(This doesn’t really mean that we are done with foster care as a whole, it just means we are done with this placement and will probably not take more then one child at a time in the future. Right now, however, we aren’t sure what the next step is for us.)
To be continued…