Wednesday, June 17, 2015

tomorrow at 10:00am

Tomorrow morning there will be a group of professionals sitting around my kitchen table at 10:00am. I will sign paperwork. They will sign some paperwork. My kids will sign paperwork. Then I'll sign some more paperwork. I'll hang on to some paperwork so my husband can sign it when he gets home from work. Hopefully I'll get a couple bags of clothes and maybe some formula.

In my arms will be a little 2 month old girl getting her third "mommy" since she was born.

Don't tell me congratulations.

No baby should have that many mommies.

So even though our new caseworker is excited for us to be getting another baby. I'm not. (Our new caseworker, Bopper, sent me a text message yesterday saying "Yayyyy, so happy you will have babies Cherub Mamma!")

Well..yes...I am "excited". I like caring for children. I like babies. I really do want to have a little girl around the house.

But foster care breaks me into a million pieces. It's sad. It's tragic. It's not a happy thing that she's coming to me. It's terribly sad. It means something happened serious enough that a perfectly healthy little girl can't live with her mother. Can't be cared for by the person she bonded to for nine months as she grew.

Please NEVER discount those nine months before birth. They are important. They shape a human being. Any time a child is separated from their mother it is tragic. Even if this little girl ends up being reunified with her mother, she will have a hole in her heart because she was separated.

I believe the metaphor I'm about to use is in the book The Primal Wound.

Imagine the bond between a mother and a child is a dinner plate. When the bond is broken, the plate is shattered. Perhaps the pieces are big enough that they can be glued back together. Perhaps the plate gets glued to pieces of a different broken plate (adoption). It will never fit perfectly. Things won't match. It might be functional, but it's definitely not the same!! Even if the original plate gets glued back together, the break will always be visible. You simply can't undo the break.

So please, don't congratulate my family. Wish us well. Pray for us. Take comfort in knowing that Star will be cared for, doted on, and fully loved. But don't congratulate us. The loss she's suffering is so significant. It trumps any fun we might have with the pink and the ruffles. Her needs will be met and we will have a blast with her I'm sure. Celebrate with us as we love on a baby that needs us. But don't congratulate us.


Trading Up said...

I fully understand the million pieces analogy, but we encourage family and community to celebrate each new foster baby, including saying "congratulations". I put myself in the child's shoes, wanting to know he or she was celebrated in his or her new home. Plus, allowing the community to celebrate with us, whether or not they use the word "congratulations", allows them to bod with the new child and strengthens our support network.

It seems like every news feed has another article telling people what not to say to foster or adoptive parents, parents of disabled children, grieving parents, etc. In life you are bound to be offended. If you want to live in a community and surrounded by others, shrugging off a few well-intended words seems a small price to pay.

I'm happy for your new addition, she obviously needs to be with you and it seems like she found a wonderful home.

Foster Mom - R said...

I totally get where you are coming from. The kids are not "lucky" to have us. Sometimes tradional phrases and sayings don't fit for non-traditional families. But Non-traditional families end up being pretty spectacular.

Emily said...

In a broken world, there are so many broken people, and the consequences are so far reaching. I hate that Star is in foster care to begin with. I hate that she isn't with her mommy. As an adoptee, I understand the hole in the heart that comes from being separated from your mother, even at birth as I was. The sad reality is that Star is in foster care, and I'm sure it's for a reason. If her journey through life had to go this way, I'm just thankful she ended up with you. So not congratulations. Not at all. But thankfulness that in the midst of tragedy, she landed with you where she will be as loved and cared for as possible.

VJ said...

I totally understand what you mean. We announced that we were adopting a teenager from Alaska and people said "Congratulations!" and I was like "Thanks...but it sucks that he has to leave behind EVERYTHING he's ever known just to get a permanent family. And it sucks that it took him almost 16 years to find decent parents."

At the same time, what are people supposed to say? Congratulations is what you say when someone gets a kid. I guess, "Congratulations but also this SUCKS."

abrianna said...

It made me sad when I read that you will be her third mommy. I am glad that she will at least be with one of her half siblings. I sure hope she is a cuddler for your boys" sake! How sweet that they want a cuddler-I can say Congratulations for that :)

Liz Block said...

The many mommies pieces is an ache I have felt too. I recently wrote about a little fella we did respite for who called me "mommy." Heartbreaking and plate shattering as you said so well. I will be praying for you and for her.

Anonymous said...

OK. Questions: Current children's birth mom has 3 children. An older girl who is with someone else. Russell and Star. Each child has a 'plan' per the court/agency. IS the plan for each child the same? Reunification with Mom? Or with a genetic relative of each child (who could vary due to different fathers)? OR what is each child's official plan re outcome.
Separate from what the official plan is, and assuming safe familial reunification is ideal, what do you ~ based on your incomplete knowledge of mother's situation ~ see as probable outcome for mom and each child?
Clearly Mom has not been able so far to be a strong mother for her children. Do you think this is poor/inadequate knowledge of how to parent/youth, lack of willingness to do the work, terrible life circumstances and partners, or basic inability to learn how to parent successfully? Is she a "horse who is led to water but will not drink" person?
To the best of your incomplete knowledge is mom actively participating in her own court/agency prescribed plan? From what you hear currently can you predict is probable length of stay for the two children in your home? ( a few more months, least 6 months, a year or more). Do you presently see any sign that Mom or her family can learn to be good safe parents for either or both children in your home? If not, currently could you see your family adopting the two children or would they not be permanent good fits for your family as things stand today.
Clearly things do and will change over time but I am wondering if you have guesses on these issues currently.
Sending good wishes and hopes for each and every one of you.

Pam H said...

Can I just tell you something from another perspective - equally sad? I know a mom who has adopted four children from foster care and is wanting to open her home for more. She is always telling me about how many mothers who have already lost children into the foster care system who are once again pregnant. Because she wants a baby to adopt, she is so EXCITED at all these possible babies entering the system. I just look at her in wonder, not even remotely understanding how one could be so happy and excited for more babies/children to be taken from their moms/dads and placed into the system.