Foster Care Changes

So we have survived our first week with the boys.  I wouldn’t say we thrived but we are starting to find our groove.  Let’s talk a bit about trauma in foster care.
Up to this point our oldest placement was our second,who was 14 months when we got her, and a little over 18 months when she moved onto a kin placement. So having a 3 year old, and a 19 month old has been a much different experience.
First of all they are boys.  I am so a girl mom.  I love crafting, dressing up, playing dolls etc.  Now all of a sudden I am a human trampoline, racing, building lego empires, and running… lots of running.  Even though when we said yes to the boys we knew there had been some different exposures, we just prayed for ok behaviours and for us to be able to handle it all.  I really hate labels, but sometimes a label is what you need to gain understanding, and get support.

The Case

We still don’t know very much about the boys case, we are hoping to find out more this week.  We know court did not go in bio families favour, and we most likely will have the boys for Christmas.  We are still kind of unsure about how we feel about having them with us.  We are falling in love with them, but it’s hard.   Harder then it has been for any of the other kiddos who have come through our home. It is hard on our girls because they adjust very easily to having babies to love on, but now they have to share toys, and their space all of the time.
They have to deal with a lot of whining, toys being thrown at them, pushing, and hitting.  

We are not ok with this because our first instinct of course, is to protect our daughters.  

At the same time, we have an idea of the type of home life that these boys have come from, and that they have seen some hard things. We cannot blame them for their behaviour, and automatically expect them to adjust, and conform to the rules of our home.  

At the end of the day we have made the commitment to love them like they are our own. We know we have to practice patience and consistency with the boys, even though there are some moments we feel like calling the agency and saying take them to another foster home, we can’t handle the turmoil it is causing in our family.

Thankfully those moments are fleeting, and a good deep breath and counting to 10 turns my mind back on the positives.

As we get to know them, and they get to know us, and our expectations, things are starting to get easier.  The whining stops quicker, the manners are starting to emerge, and the appreciation of us giving them a safe space is becoming more evident in their eyes.

The Little Guy

Little buddy doesn’t talk yet, and he loves to cuddle.  We have bonded quite easily.  

Big bud, is where I am finding I am most challenged.  He is smart for his age, yet emotionally fragile.  I am still trying to figure out when he is using bad behaviours for attention, and when he is truly just feeling gut wrenchingly sad.  I am walking the fine line of disciplining him for his actions, yet building a relationship where he knows he can trust me.  He doesn’t really trust adults to meet his needs, so he is pretty self-reliant, and independent but then there are times he just crawls into my lap and lays his head down on my shoulder, and I know his little mind is just craving a genuine love.   A hug.  A snuggle.  A connection.

Older Brother

My husband said to me last night that I am doing a great job, and that he sees things improving.  A lot of the time I feel like I am failing big bud.  I want to be patient with him, but I worry I am allowing him to walk all over me.  I am lenient, and then I just flip to strict because he pushes every button I have and it’s just hard!  So dang hard.
It makes me wonder if I am cut out to parent kids with significant trauma.  It makes me want to run back to only fostering young babies under 18 months – kids that haven’t had to deal with as much as he has, ones that don’t talk and tell me hard things.
He told me something at bedtime tonight about his home life, and it just about broke me.  Can I just have a newborn to snuggle please?

I know God has given us these boys for a reason.  It feels good to provide a safe space for them, no matter how difficult it is to parent them.  I am hoping the next few weeks will improve even more.  We have had the flu bug, and 2 eye infections to deal with and the baby came to us sick and now all of us have a head cold, and cough as well.  So that in itself has been tough.

 It has been laundry upon laundry with 4 kids, let alone trying to do extra germ control by washing the sheets and towels even more often.

My house literally looks like a tornado came through but with the help of friends bringing meals, and sending notes of encouragement we are doing it!

Thanks for following along our journey.  I am doubtful that these will be our boys forever, but it is another step closer to our forever child.