Monday, December 30, 2013

Mixed up fostering feelings ... seems to be the norm


EVERY post doesn't need to be about fostering ... but fostering thoughts are what have been inspiring blog posts. I will work on writing every day, "normal" family posts, I promise.

I was just telling Ren Man that I had mixed feelings about the kids next visit with their parents. You see, mom (let's call her "Amy"), has been in jail for the last month plus. And now she's scheduled to get out. So the next visit will be with dad for an hour (like normal) and mom for an hour. A mom Child F. desperately misses and is worried about and I'm sure really confused about (why can't I see her? where is she?).
But when Amy wasn't in jail, she missed more visits than she attended (there are many possible and reasonable reasons for this - including shame). So what are the chances that she'll be at this one? I just don't know.
So I have mixed feelings. If she doesn't show, that's good for us if our goal is to raise the girls forever. If she DOES show, that complicates things. This isn't any where near a deal-breaker, it's just one tiny piece of the story that is being created to support the children returning to their parents (or not). And in theory I want kids to live with their parents and do everything I can to support that goal. BUT when it is hard to see how parents can meet the goals they need to in order to have their children returned, I just want the process to be done, instead dragging everyone through this parade of demands that will end in termination any way.

So feeling of two minds about the upcoming visit.

Child D. has NEVER talked about her mom. I try to engage her in a conversation about missing her mom, worried about her mom, thinking about her mom, anything about her mom. But Child D. came to us with so few words. Her current comprehension and vocabulary do not give her the ability to talk about her mom. I'm "mom" (as labeled by Child D. on her first night with us) and there were no other words for the other mom she knows. But I thought: she's less than 3, she hasn't seen her mom in a LONG time in kid-terms, and who knows what her relationship was like with her mom? Maybe she doesn't miss her? Or even more unlikely: maybe she doesn't remember?!

But now Child F. is here ... and she talks. A lot. She misses Amy, she worries about Amy, she tells us that Amy would let her eat all the chocolate in the world. She especially misses Amy when there is a limit set (no, we don't color one dot on and then get yet another piece). My heart breaks for her because she's old enough to kind of get it (I miss my mom, why isn't she here, why am I with these strangers, is my mom okay?) but not old enough to get it (my mom couldn't take care of me so I will be cared by another family that can keep me safe until my mom and dad can do what they need to do to take good care of me. If they can't do that, then another family will raise me instead).

So with all this talking that Child F. does and all the talking that Child D. can now do, Child D. and I had an unintentional conversation about Amy with her. It went something like this:

"Who's your mommy?" I asked in a silly voice.
Silence. Not abnormal. Her speech is not everything it should be, remember?
"Is Mommy Amy your mom?" I asked.
"Mommy Amy! MY mommy!!" she said excitedly.
"Do you want to say 'byebye mommy, hi Mommy Amy!!' and go live with Mommy Amy?" I asked enthusiastically.
"YES! Mommy Amy! HOME!" Child D.

Her passion, her excitement, her enthusiasm.
How naive I'd been.

And suddenly I knew what I wanted.

I want their mom to be at their next visit. I want their dad to continue to go to visits. I want both parents to jump through every single hoop that's thrown at them and then some. I want them to succeed. I desperately want them to raise the children they birthed.
Because, right now, as a mom to Child D., Child E., and Child F. I want what's best for them. And what's best for them is to have parents who can keep them warm, safe and fed - and the best parents for that job are the parents that birthed them. So I will do everything I can to support them so they can get back to parenting as soon as possible. And because I am one of their moms now, there is a momma bear that may come out, frustrated and growling when parents let them down and happy bear dancing with a big bear grin when they succeed - no matter how big or small that success is.

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