I visited Baby 2 & 3 today!! I got to see them and give them presents. It was only 10 min or so and they don't remember me, but I got high fives and big smiles. Not that I needed reminding, but those boys are a part of me. I'm connected to them so deep even though it's nearly a year we've been separated. It was the best Christmas gift I could have asked for- 10 minutes with my babies.
Baby 4 is having surgery tomorrow- his 6th since he's been with us. Surgery has always been scheduled for around 6am, but tomorrow he doesn't go in until 11:45. Since he can't eat after midnight, I would like him to sleep in tomorrow as long as possible. So we stayed up late and watched A Home For The Holidays on TV together. The Dave Thomas Foundation puts this special on every year to feature families who have adopted from Foster Care and spotlight waiting children. I told 4 it was about families like ours. The kids weren't safe in their 1st house, so they went to live with a new family. We talked very briefly about adoption where I explained that in foster care, the Mommy and Daddy are working really hard to make their house safe so the kids can go back. In adoption, the kids never move back; they stay with their new family forever. Baby 4 said, "Well, I'm staying forever.". It would have been the cutest moment ever if the next part hadn't happened. Not even 30 seconds after he professed his intention to stay with us forever, 4 informed me that he would like to "adopted Justin Beaver forever, but I'll miss you". Well, there you go!
I'm exhausted. That pretty much covers it. Dr's, therapists, and caseworkers all want to get their visits in this week because most take vacation next week. Appointment after appointment round here.
I feel like I owe you the real truth about foster care and the impact it's had on us. Here's the ugly truth: Even the strongest support doesn't ensure foster care won't tear your family in two.
This week, in light of Baby 4's recent behaviors and ongoing teaching and re-teaching appropriate social skills, my extended family turned on me. I heard about how lenient I am- "letting" Baby 4 be disrespectful and bringing embarrassment on myself and this family member. Then I heard from the other side how I'm way too hard on 4- "He's just being a boy" and I need to give him more slack. After several heated arguments where I chose my son over everything else important, I have been disowned by one of my parents while the other one has chosen to separate themselves from me until everything blows over. Apparently everyone else shares an opinion with one side or the other and we've been quite the conversation topic "ever since you got him".
NONE of these people know the dirty details of what 4 has been through. NONE of these people have experienced PTSD or chronic anxiety in themselves or their children. NONE of these people have parented a child who has suffered loss and trauma the way 4 has. NONE of these people has ever tried to parent someone else's 4 yr old. NONE of these people have researched trauma, loss, bonding, and attachment the way we have, and NONE of them have had to be around Baby 4 for longer than a couple of hours.
I am not the perfect parent. I don't have all (or even most) of the answers. I am the only one of us who stepped up to help a kid who needed a Mom, and I feel like if you could do it better then you should.
It was not even a choice worth thinking about to stand by Baby 4 over someone who shares my DNA but was willing to disband their whole family because they couldn't understand my parenting style. I choose my child. I choose to be the type of parent I wish I had- one who will NEVER leave. I will spend Christmas with my sons while some others may choose to spend Christmas alone. That's the ugly that foster care can bring out of people.