Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A foster mom's thoughts on Mother's Day

Everyone is working towards reunification for Pumpkin. Pumpkin's mom is working all the parts of her case plan. It is obvious that Pumpkin loves her mommy very much. It seems obvious to me the Pumpkin's mom loves Pumpkin very much.

Mother's Day becomes a sticky subject when you're a foster family.

Pumpkin cannot acknowledge this day on her own. So, it's up to me. And let's just say picking out a card for Pumpkin to give her mom was no easy feat. It's not exactly like she could be nominated for Mother of the Year or anything. I'm not trying to be mean, but I didn't feel right buying a card that spoke of all the things the child and mom do together. Or one that went on and on about how wonderful of a mom she is. Let's face it, when a mom loses custody of a child – it's a pretty big deal and there isn't a card out there thanking mom for showing up to all the visits.

After a lot of searching I found a simple card that says, "LOVE" on the front. On the inside it says, "one word says it all. happy mother's day." I'm going to let Pumpkin scribble on it and then she can give it to her mom at their visit tomorrow. It seems like the right thing to do.

I'm stuck though with a school project. I'd love to hear how you would handle this.

Pumpkin's teacher sent home a sheet of paper that is requesting a picture of her mom at the top. Then there are several things to fill out:
Name of Mom
Mom's Job
Mom's Favorite Food
Mom's Favorite Color
Mom's Favorite Thing to do for Fun

If Pumpkin could communicate, I would simply have her give me these answers and, whether the answers were right or wrong, the focus would stay on her bio-mom for this project. I would turn it back in to the school without a photo and they could go from there with it.

But Pumpkin can't communicate. She can't answer questions. And I don't have the ability to give this sheet to Pumpkin's mom for her to fill it out herself. Pumpkin missed her family visit on Monday because of the seizure issues and the reaction to her medication.

So, should I avoid the project all together? Let's face it, I'm NOT Pumpkin's mom. They are working towards reunification. It's not my place to force myself into this role on the holiday. Besides, Pumpkin doesn't know the difference so I can't ask her preference.

Or, should I go ahead and fill it out for myself? Pumpkin will do whatever is being done with the project and the end result will come back to me?

There is a dance to be done balancing the fact that Pumpkin is a part of our family. I am "Mamma L***" to Pumpkin. I don't encourage her to call me Mommy at all. But right now she has two moms. The one that gave birth to her and the one that is doing all the day to day mommy-ing. Of course, if Pumpkin could communicate I would let her direct how she wanted to handle these relationships and how she wanted to acknowledge Mother's Day. But she can't. I'm curious to do you handle Mother's Day and Father's Day as a foster family?


Anonymous said...

I personally love mother's day. It's a chance for me to celebrate the kids's moms. And to communicate to them my role.

I usually inlcude pictures of the kiddos in mom cards. Also, I wouldn't hesitate to put yourself in Pumpkin's work. As you said, she doesn't really get it. And right now you are mom to Pumpkin. That's a special job. And it's a little sticky, but it also works.

In the end of course, you should do what you feel most comfortable with, but don't minimize the impact you make and your role just because you didn't birth her and the woman who did is still in the picture.

Our Journey said...

I had the same difficult challenge picking out a Mother's Day card for our baby man. Little Man's mom is no where to be found, so no card there. We like to include pictures and since we have little guys hand/feet prints :)

jendoop said...

We're providing respite the night of Mother's Day for a 11 yr old boy who refuses to go to the court ordered visits with his mom. I don't plan to do anything, not even discuss it unless he brings it up.

I think you are great to do something for Pumpkin's mom. It could be the only time in her life that will happen because when Pumpkin's back with her it won't happen either. Even if she isn't mother of the year she is trying, and has been trying since Pumpkin was born.

In the elementary school newsletter I noticed that the Principal included foster moms in the well wishes for Mother's day. Seeing as how there's only two of us in the school, I really appreciated that!

Happy Mothers Day to you too!