Archive for December, 2012

The Aftermath

I realize it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything and, if I’m honest with myself, I’ve delayed writing not just because I’ve been overly busy and distracted and tired but because I think that if I actually had put into words what I’ve been feeling the past few weeks I may not have made it through.  It’s easy to keep pushing on and on and on when you’re not really admitting how hard things are, but sometimes when you start opening that can of worms it’s very hard to get all the emotions and thoughts and questions pushed back down and capped off.  It just becomes too messy.  But the storm is over.  So I can talk about it now.

Last Tuesday I went to a training at the BAIR Foundation called “Moves”.  It was a session on how we as foster parents can avoid a disruption in a child’s life by making sure we are equipped to handle whatever we may face with our therapeutic children so they do not have to get moved out of our home.  The statistics were staggering!  We watched a video where one girl had been placed in 75 different foster families.  Seventy-five!  That’s 75 disruptions, changing schools, making new friends, meeting new “parents”, attempting to form new attachments.  75 times of being told again that you’re not worth keeping, that you’re too much trouble, that there’s nothing else they can do for you.  75 times of being returned.  That number shocked me.  We also read page after page of real examples of kids in our area who have been in foster care for years and the number of times they moved.  One chart stood out to me.  After 320 plus days the foster family decided they didn’t want the child any more.  So they returned her.  That made me mad.  That scared me.  How could someone stay with a child that long, endure whatever trials came up, only to give up after that time.  And I started thinking about my own kids and how in the two years they’ve been in foster care they have been in five different placements.  It’s ridiculous.  I didn’t understand how someone could give back a kid.  Until I was forced to face a storm of our own.

When David moved in with us they warned me that things would probably get worse before they got better.  And that worse was okay.  Our first couple weeks as a family of three went relatively smoothly.  There were little snags here and there; typical sibling things and jealousy issues.  Nothing we couldn’t handle with a simple timeout or loss of privilege.  But about two weeks ago my Sweet Pea got tired of sharing me, tired of having to deal with the emotions of having to say goodbye again, and decided it was time to push me away.  And she pushed hard.  Never in a million years did I think I would ever question my decision to take her and her brother in.  But that’s exactly what happened.

From the time we woke up in the morning to the time the kids went to bed at night Lydia declared full out war against me.  She was sweet as could be to my neighbors and friends and family, but me?  War.  Defiance like I’ve never seen.  Punching, hitting, kicking.  Throwing things.  And then came the screaming.  The blood curdling screams.  They simply tore out my heart.  Hour after hour she would fight me.  Simple commands like “please go brush your teeth” turned into a hour fight for control.  I would speak calmly, look her in the eye, get on her level…all the things they taught us to do.  But she was in her own world, lost, fighting to get out.  The cycles came more and more frequently as the weeks went on.  Disobedience, defiance, aggression, submission, apology, forgiveness.   Her behaviors got worse and they began to take their toll.  I even think that if I was the only one hurt through this I could’ve dealt with it.  But I wasn’t.  After her hour episodes she was so remorseful she would lock herself in her room and just sob and say, “I’m so stupid.  I’m unlovable.  I’m mean.  I’m ugly.”  That was what did me in.  I knew Satan was having a field day with her and battling hard core for her mind.  Our relationship was wrecked and now he attacked her when she had no shelter.  He pulled her out from under my wings and devoured her.  But there was nothing I could do to fix this.  One night was so bad I even had to call the emergency on call phone and have them talk me through what to do.  There were nights I was scared.  Scared not so much for me, but for her.  I was losing so much ground.

And it hurts too.  It hurts to be fought and yelled at and disrespected and then to listen to teary apologies that you know mean nothing over and over again.  It hurts to feel abused, even if by an eight year old.  And it hurts to feel out of control.  And if I’m honest, in the heat of the moment after enduring several hours of crap, I wanted to give up.  I wanted to pick up my phone, call BAIR, and tell them I’m done.  One night I even begged God to help the adoption go through and release me from the calling of being a foster mom.  It was too much.

But one night as I was sitting up late, praying that God would just do something, He brought me to the cross and reminded me oh so tenderly what He had to endure.  He was mocked, spit on, beaten, punched, abused, and nailed to a cross.  Perfect Jesus.  At any time He could’ve chosen to give up.  He could’ve opted out of the plan.  He could’ve called a thousand angels to come relieve Him of His anguish.  But He didn’t.  He chose love.  And if Christ could endure all that for me, can’t I endure the momentary trials I have with my Sweet Pea?  So, in the midst of the hardest storm, I chose love.

The last few days have been about rebuilding.  We had therapy and doctor’s visits and chats with our caseworkers to try to get back on the right track.  And it’s working.  Slowly.  But it’s working.  Last week I attended our foster review board (which is a WHOLE other story for another time…) and afterward I talked to our therapist for over an hour about everything that had gone on.  I asked some big questions, questions I was afraid to ask myself (like what if the adoption really is not the best thing, then what?) and he graciously stood out in the sun and calmed my nerves.  He encouraged me to keep enduring.  Keep pressing on.  And I’m so glad I did.

I love my two treasures.  I love them when they are laughing and playing well and making good choices.  I love them when they eat all their food and make their beds and brush their teeth.  But I also love them when all hell breaks loose and I am standing in the middle of the hall being yelled at and slapped and fought with.  I love them when they make bad choices and get kicked out of school (for desk surfing in the middle of class…another story, another time :)), and when they don’t even want to be loved anymore.  I love them.  So, for better or for worse, in the calm and in the storm, from day one to day 320, I choose them.  I choose love.


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