I've mentioned it before – I'm seeing behaviors in Dude and Dolly that seem to me to be a result of being in foster care.
Let me repeat that -- these are behaviors I believe are a result of (simply) BEING in Care.
Yes, I know some of these behaviors are normal in all children. Yes, I know I might be reading things in to this. Yes, I know that what I'm seeing is very, very minor compared to what others are parenting.
But there is nothing normal about ripping children from their family and placing them in the homes of strangers.
And there is certainly nothing normal or OK with leaving them in this state of uncertainty for extended periods of time.
Please do not misunderstand me. I do not think foster care is all evil and is all wrong. I understand with every fiber of my being that it is necessary. Children need to be kept safe and that cannot always happen in their family of origin.
But I'm really getting my panties in a bunch over all that is wrong with The System. You'll have to forgive me...I'm cycling back to the "freaking out" part of this journey. "My" kids have court in just over a month. Every time I hold these beauties in my arms I wonder how much time I have left with them.
I was on the phone with My Genius Brother tonight. We don't get to talk very often. He's a busy homeschooling dad of five that just happens to be a doctor as well. He often calls when he's driving between appointments. Tonight we got to chatting about the kids. He and his family are excited about finally getting to meet my bonus cherubs. (My cherubs are super, duper, uber excited about finally getting to meet Uncle J and his crew!)
Because we hadn't talked in awhile I had the pleasure of filling him in about the syringe in the duffel bag and all that happens each time the cherubs go to Dallas. He, like everyone else that discusses this case with me, has concerns about the children moving to Dallas permanently. The pieces just don't fit together at all. No one involved (I'm guessing not even Minnie) thinks it's in the cherubs' best interests to move to Dallas with Grandma N.
Anyway, as we talked about how chaotic it's going to be at Granny and Papa's with all of us there I said again that my kids can't wait to meet him. Then I added, "Of course, they aren't going to be anything like themselves. There will be plenty of deer in the headlight looks and lots of silence. They're going to be scared to death." This led to conversation in general about my kids' behaviors.
Which brings me full circle to my first statement. I'm seeing behaviors that seem to be (simply) because the kids are in Care. I mean...they are bonded to us. They ARE a part of our family. They fit in with us and they fit well. We love them. They love us. Our home is safe. We are doing everything a foster family is supposed to do and then some. But still...the cherubs are suffering (simply) because they are in Care.
The daily uncertainty is overwhelming. Nothing is forever. Nothing in the future can be talked about. We all have to live day by day in what is really not a healthy way.
My Genius Brother is amazing. But I didn't expect him to agree with me. So many people look at us and see only good what we've done for the kids. And since we're not dealing with behaviors outside the realm of "normal" parenting, I didn't expect for my brother to validate me. There are foster parents all over the country. No one talks about damage being done to the children in good, healthy foster homes. Good, healthy foster homes are a good thing that only help children.
But validate me he did.
Which breaks my heart.
I mean...I wanted him to tell me I'm overreacting. I wanted this doctor to tell me that kids are resilient. I wanted him to tell me that it takes more than this to "mess up" a kid. He knows we love these children with all our hearts. I wanted him to tell me that love is enough.
But he didn't.
I had a professional agree with me that attachment disorder can come (simply) as a result of languishing in Care.
Now...let me loudly clarify...
I DO NOT THINK MY KIDS ARE MOVING TOWARD ATTACHMENT DISORDER!
I'm just noticing behaviors that if left untended to over a long period of time, would be similar to those that children with attachment disorder display.
This of course adds to the "freaking out" part of my foster parenting journey. I so pray that this case has an ending of sorts in January when we go to court. Once again I pray that they either GO to Grandma N's or that they STAY with us permanently. I do NOT want them to still be in foster care. Even PMC with us would be better than foster care in my opinion. (Of course I'm praying hardest that the children stay with us. But in reality...I want to be done with foster care right now. I want what is best for these children and staying in Care does not seem to be what is best.)
But...sigh...I'm just the foster mom. The lawyer won't return my calls. There's no CASA involved. And Minnie is not someone I trust. So I'll wait. And I'll try to not think about court in January. I'll try to enjoy all that Christmas is. I'll look forward to seeing my family. I'll look forward to getting out of Texas for nearly two weeks. I'll look forward to pretending we're not a foster family for that time.
And I'll try really hard to not freak out.