Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Indicated

I'm blogging from my phone because my computer has been out of commission since my last post. That's part of the no update... The other part is that I was waiting for some kind of positive spin or silver lining. That's not coming, though. I don't have it in me to mince words, so this is going to be an uncomfortable read with some swearing. If that offends you, please stop reading after the next paragraph.

CPS indicated my husband in the investigation on the injuries of Baby 12. They do not have a theory of what they think occurred that night. They simply feel like he should know what happened. Baby 4- in an effort to move the blame off himself- lied about things that he saw, heard, imagined, and counted. His stories were plentiful and never consistent, but they made the agency question the safety of our home. After they indicated the first case, 2 more CPS reports were called in anonymously accusing me personally of substance abuse and neglect. Those reports were unfounded and those cases are closed. The agency is hopelessly split over what to do with Baby 9- who we are in the process of adopting. There are people who desperately want her to stay with us and firmly believe we are the family that we have always been. Then the other half do not want to chance letting a child stay in a home where abuse or neglect have ever been questioned. I remain steadfast that we have always been the  family we are now- genuinely devoted to loving all the children in our home and keeping them safe.

That's the end of the niceties.

You guys, I lost my shit over this. I've lost 40 lbs since August- literally just being consumed by it all. 

I couldn't be home after I found out about the indication. I couldn't look at my husband- who I know was going through what I was (except worse because it was him they were indicating)- and he wasn't opening up to me. As unfair as it was, I was mad at him for not protecting our family from this. I could not handle Baby 4 continuing with stories and lies that could endanger Baby 9's placement and the investigation. There was a little, "How could you, after everything we've given you?", and a little, "He saw how this worked. He's going to pull this shit over and over for the rest of our lives.". So I ran. I escaped any chance I could. I was out almost every night, and on the nights I was home - my husband was out. It got to the point where my kids would see their Dad walk in from work and turn to me to say goodbye.

I did everything I could to get out of my head and I hurt everyone. I betrayed my friends and broke those relationships forever. I stepped out on my husband- permanently altering our marriage. Everyone that tried to offer support has been negatively impacted by my downward spiral. All of my transgressions are out in the open now. Everyone knows what I've done and wants me to fix it- but I can't. 

I have never been in this place where I wasn't ready for a fight. I'm a fighter. I'm good at it. I can throw words and wear a blazer and make everyone in a meeting sit up straight while they agree with me. I've never been afraid of anything. My faith has been developed in that place. I know what it feels like when I'm going to fight, and I know to check in with God before I make my plans. I know He's faithful to go before me and give me favor, and comfort me, and peace that passes all understanding, and every other good Christian thing. Jesus and I have fighting down to a science. I didn't stop to check in with Jesus when I was going to run in August, though. I didn't have the practice in my faith to know He'd do all those good Christian things even if I did nothing. I treated me and Jesus like a team where I had to pull my own weight. That's not how it works. He's the Shepard, and I'm the sheep. The expectation for things working out never falls on the sheep. The Shepard doesn't ask for 50/50. In my fear, I decided to forsake my faith and self destruct. I made no effort to try sparing the people around me. That's something that I'm very sorry for.

I was a foster Mom. I put my entire last 7 years into our love story. I don't regret a single thing about that. All our friends were foster friends. Our reputation was fostering. My job was training foster parents. I was going to do this forever, and I was going to be great at it. Then it was all dying. I have no clue what else I want to do with my life. I literally cannot imagine a world where I have more purpose and more impact than I did in fostering. I was 22 when we started this. I turned 29 in September. By the time I'm 30- everything I've worked for in my adult life will be gone. My whole identity will be gone. And it's all over lies. We have never stopped being great foster parents.

For a while, the fleeing worked. I fell in love, and felt adventurous and wanted. I connected with things outside of fostering that made me feel like myself. I used to be the girl who knew about local musicians, and said risqué things, and went out dancing with my Mom. People liked me and we always had friends around before kids... I could be that person again. But I did it all the wrong way. I was reckless and selfish, and didn't reconnect to the past with my husband. I did it with someone else's. When that came out, the fleeing couldn't work anymore. 

I don't think foster care broke me. I'm certain I broke me all by myself. The love in our story stands. I wouldn't go back and change anything about the kids we've loved or their families. I don't even think I would change giving my entire self to foster care. I really wish it wasn't ending. I really wish I had a graceful exit somewhere inside me. I really wish I had used the last couple months helping the people I love instead of licking my own wounds while they wrecked themselves for me. 

This isn't a goodbye post. The story is not over, although it's in its last couple chapters. We have to appeal the indication and get it overturned. We have to fight to keep Baby 9, and that probably means jumping through tons of hoops. If everything goes well, we could adopt her and close our home in the spring/ early summer. If the shitstorm continues as it has been, we could need to give our opinion on a new adoptive family for her in the next 90 days and be closed then. I do not see a storyline that includes continuing to foster. There is also no chance of our adopted children being removed because there is no actual health and safety risk in our home.

I am in a better place than I have been since all of this went down. I'm not fleeing anymore. Some days are harder than others. Some days I have to write myself, "Do Not Run" notes, and other days I can focus on helping my family heal. All 5 of us are here at home. The kids are mostly unaware of what's happening. They are getting tons of screen time so the adults can talk, but they are also seeing us talk and be together way more than we have been.  I'm happy for the chance to show my kids how to work through trouble instead of running. I'm humbled to the point of physical pain that my husband is standing next to me through this. It's hard not knowing what the next story will be. I am actively forcing my faith to keep me still while God makes that plan. He won't withhold any good thing from me. His ways are higher than my ways. When my heart is overwhelmed, He will lead me to the rock that is higher than I. I don't have to chase the next story.  

Thank you for all the comments and emails checking in. It was very grounding to not be forgotten. I'm sorry I didn't have a happy response for you. 

17 comments:

  1. Thank you for your honesty. Frankly, something would be wrong with you if you hadn't lost it. I will continue praying for all five of you. I am so relieved that baby 9 is still home and has a chance to remain.

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  2. oh, sweetie. Hugs and prayers for you and yours as you work through your "valley of the shadow."

    thank you for updating us.

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  3. Oh, friend, what a tough time to be going through. I hope you continue to move forward.

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  4. I want to say so much to encourage you, you dear, dear woman. Just rest in the arms of our loving Father. I've had to sit on His lap many times curled up in His arms. Remember this, the only time God ever ran is when it is towards us, arms outstretched to gather us close. Just rest in Him. You will get through this and you will become stronger than ever.

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  5. Maybe your next step is writing a book! Thank you for your vulnerability. I am a new foster mom and your words on this blog have opened my eyes to many things.

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  6. I am so sorry to hear this news about your family. I've recently read through your entire blog and what has struck me the most about you is your love and compassion for every child you've had in your care. I'll be praying for peace and healing for your family and that God may show you His next plan for you.

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  7. I'm glad for the update although my heart aches for you. I can't say I know exactly how you feel, but I know something about self destruction and guilt and unfairness and bad decisions.
    I've sure been through a season of self destruction and my share of fleeing. Although I look back on that version of myself with shame and regret, I was refined by fire into something much better than I was before. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of days I'd do over if I could, but since God isn't in the business of rewriting history, so I don't get to make that call.
    I used to trudge around with this heavy trainload of guilt. My baggage stretched for miles. I was a Christian, mind you. Born and bread in a fine southern baptist church with morals and common sense and biblical knowledge and all the other Christian stuff. So I knew I was forgiven by both Jesus and those I hurt... but I was in the "I just can't forgive myself" boat.
    Then one day I visited a new church & heard a message that said not forgiving yourself is rejecting someone's gift of forgiveness. And something clicked in my brain and my heart- if someone could offer me forgiveness- be it Jesus or otherwise- who was I to reject it? So I decided to humbly & graciously accept the most beautiful gift ever offered. And I continued accepting it on a daily basis. And my trainload disappeared.
    Thank you for sharing the good, the bad, the ugly, and the shitstorm. Your story has brought me so much insight and has had a direct impact on decisions we've made as foster parents. I maintain that all things work together for good for people like you and your husband and babies. Keep up the good fight, friend

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  8. Teresa, I can not thank you enough for sharing your story. My husband and I just recently began seriously considering foster care, and your blog was the first I found. I read the entire thing, from your first post to the last, in four days. Your journey has impacted me so much, and though I don't know you, I feel like I have fallen in love with your family! I can not tell you how much I appreciate the honesty with which you have written this. I have gained so much insight in these past four days. My point is that your life and story has impacted more people than you know! I can only imagine all the shock I would have encountered had we begun fostering before I read this. I have a better understanding of how real a foster family's struggle and sacrifice really is. I wish I had advice, but all I have is gratitude. I feel your story is far from over. You have proven countless times that you truly are a fighter, a there isn't a second of doubt in my mind that you and your family will pull through the current storm and continue you to positively impact the lives of your children, as well as the children of all your readers. You are loved and respected. Thank you so much!

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  10. I can only imagine, my heart goes out to your family and 9. Ido have to ask though, you spoke of them wanting (and removing) all except 4. What are they planning or what have they done with Baby4 ?

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  11. I can only imagine, my heart goes out to your family and 9. Ido have to ask though, you spoke of them wanting (and removing) all except 4. What are they planning or what have they done with Baby4 ?

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    1. 4 is adopted so he and their other adopted daughter can't be removed without substantial evidence that their home is unsafe.

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  12. Soooo terribly sorry for everything that is going on. Thank you so much for posting; been very worried about you and your family. I love your blog and sincerely hope that this is not the end

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  13. I hope you can update again soon.

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  14. Thinking of you. I hope you'll be able to post again soon.

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  15. Praying for you. You are loved.

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  16. Praying for you and your family. Hoping we hear from you soon.

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