Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Can't Always be Puppies and Rainbows

I would love to tell you that being a foster parent is easy. That we haven't been frustrated. That we have just loved every minute of it. And that we know what we are doing.

But you all know that none of that is true.

I don't really want to post about the bad parts of being a foster parents. Or the frustrations. Or the struggles. But if I didn't then I might as well just post pictures of puppies and rainbows and call it a day.    But this is all about my journey as a foster mom. And there are unglamorous moments. Times when I'm going to be heartbroken. Times when things are going to be uncomfortable.  And times when I'm going to be really mad, like right now.

I am frustrated. I am disappointed. I am angry. And really pissed off.

None of these feelings are directed at the boys. Please let me make that crystal clear. I am frustrated in some of the decisions/actions the boys have chosen. But I cannot blame them. No one comes into foster care for a good reason. Everyone has a story and history. These boys are no different.  I have a partial understanding of why the boys are making these decisions. So I cannot blame them for their actions. And honestly, these decisions/actions were all things we expected when we became foster parents. Nothing has happened was not covered in our MAPP traning class. We knew all of this (and so much more) were probable decisions/actions for foster children to display. So to reiterate, none of these feelings are directed at the boys.

Who is the source of these feelings? The system. 

Why? Lack of support. For both us and the boys.

We are first time parents and foster parents. 97% of the time we are winging it. We are learning, but we are definitely still learning what works for us, the boys and our new family as a whole. Considering that we have had the boys for a little over 3 weeks, we have made TONS of progress. But there are times when things are beyond our expertise and we need help. Help navigating the system. Help redesigning our rules/reward system yet again. Help explaining things so that the boys understand. Help finding a technique or strategy that will actually work. Help understanding the true source of the behavior/actions.  

Our family, friends, coworkers and even complete strangers have been incredible! They have given us tips for teaching ABC's/swimming/counting/soccer/table manners, recommended barber shops, discussed discipline strategies, sent notes of encouragement, offered to babysit, invited us over for playdates, respected our inability to disclose details about what is going on, cooked us tons of meals, given us clothes/toys, recommended diapers, and the list goes on and on and on and on.

There have also been a few particular people within the system who have gone way above and beyond their responsibilities to try to make things right and give us the support needed. They are exceptional people and have been the glimmer of hope through this whole process.

As a whole, the system has not delivered the support we need. The support that the boys need. The support that was promised to both of us. Yet! I committed to taking care of these boys. And I will keep pushing until I get the help I need to be the foster mom that they deserve. I will not back down. I will not go away. These boys deserve it. And the last thing I'm going to do is disappoint them.


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