We're in full swing with our foster care class. So far it hasn't scared us away. Just the opposite, in fact! I think we're even more committed to this now than we were before, now that we have a better understanding of the needs and our resources and responsibilities. Yes, there's still a lot to talk about and a lot to prepare for, but we're excited. Excited to maybe meet our future child/ren, yes certainly, but also excited to help out and do our part to help children who will not remain with us.
Our last class shocked me. No details, of course, but essentially we learned a bit of what an extreme case would be as opposed to a typical case of what you'd normally get in foster care. Why was I shocked? Well, because my older son would most certainly fall under "extreme" case. Seriously, I thought behaviors like those we'd dealt with would be mild, or even the norm, in foster care and assumed that those I've known who had fostered just got lucky. I spent a while after class speaking with the teacher, giving her info on P and what he'd been through and how he behaved and learned that yes, indeed, this was an extreme case compared to what we can expect.
Honestly, yeah, shocked.
P is extreme? I could have told you that, haha! But as far as we've come? Where we are now? Dude, this kid is a dream. come. true. We actually sort of fight over who gets to go with him when we split the boys up for awhile to do different activities. He's so easy! So relaxed! So fun! Yes, we need to keep an eye on his emotions and yes we need to avoid certain things and yes he can be pretty emotional sometimes, but seriously, 99% of the time he's like a dream child.
Even looking back on how far we've come with him... it's a long way. And we know what we're doing now, we know what resources are available, we are calmer and stronger and happier and more sure in our actions.
So if P is extreme... yeesh, they could throw just about anything our way in that case! :-P
Though seriously, we do need to sit down and decide what would work for our family.
The safety and security of P and A is paramount in this decision, and when I think of that my head is full of "I'd rather__ than__". I'd rather have an infant with FAS than a five year old who acts out sexually toward smaller children. I'd rather have a teenager who spends all day giving attitude but generally listens than a three year old who constantly bites other kids. I'd rather have any sort of placement that does not put my children at risk than any sort of placement that does.
But then, there are so many other factors.
Should we accept children older than P?
Should we accept children with issues we don't think we could handle long term when there's a possibility of the case going to adoption?
Should we accept children who require care all day and night to keep their moods in check, thus taking most of our attention away from our two kids?
Should we accept sibling groups when they might create an "us vs. them" atmosphere?
What would fit? How can we help out and give aid where it's needed and still protect our family? Can we ever truly know what sort of situation would actually fit our family without being there? Can we really make all these grand choices when it's still going to come down to a sudden phone call with scant information?
When thinking about this, my head goes into a tizzy. So much to know, so many factors, so much to think about...
And yet... one thing is certain.
If we had known, with P's adoption, exactly what we were getting into... what behaviors, what treatment, how long it would take, how exhausting it could be, how this was a lifelong commitment to making a child well again....
If we had known, I don't think we would have done it. I think we would have backed away.
And we would be the ones who lost out.
We would be the ones who didn't get to see his first shy smiles, hear his soft breathy laugh, hold his body as it fights us and then relaxes, giving in, accepting that we really mean it when we say we're here for him and we'll help him. We would be the ones who didn't get to hear him finally start singing, see him start dancing, watch him learn to love books, sit with him during his favorite movies. We would be the ones missing out on the little notes he writes, the truly heartfelt conversations we have, the constant hugs, the sweet smiles, the big bright eyes greeting us whenever we say hello. We would be the ones who missed out.
Do I really want to have to choose who comes to live with us?
Do I really want to think, at the end of the day, that it's really up to me?
So much to think about... so much to prepare....
And tonight we'll be halfway through classes...
Guess I'd better work on that autobiography :)
Lily in a loafing barn
5 weeks ago