It may not mean much to the average person. But for us, it marked 3 months of having our little foster boy in our home.
2 weeks away from his 18 month birthday.
We took a trip to Florida for the weekend and it was during that time I think we turned the corner. Sure we had a few meltdowns and tantrums. But so does any kid. NOTHING to the level it had been for the last longgg 12 weeks. I kept waiting for it. Our family probably thought I was lying about his past, um crazy, behavior. But I was relieved and happy to have a nice weekend together.
He laughed and played with Dave and I in our bed before getting up for the day that weekend. He sang and babbled in his crib!! This might not seem like much but he was happy. Happy! I never realized how unhappy he was until I saw him giggle and smile (alot!). His shell cracked.
I don’t know how or when it happened but something changed in him. And I cried. I had been so hurt for this little boy. I saw his struggle everyday. The inner turmoil was visible. And he was so tiny. When most kids turn a year, they start exploring, and walking, and learning new things everyday! Not him. He was recovering. Confused. Pushing love away. What was love, after all? I think our version was WAY different than the one he saw the first year of his life.
He smiles! 🙂 Even when I am correcting him! Gosh, I had tried everything. Talking in a nice voice, smiling as I am asking him to eat his food or not hit the table. I tried being firm. I tried ignoring the tantrums. I tried handling them. I tried hugging him. I tried giving him space. Everything got the same. Exact. Response.
Anger. I mean, really angry. Not just the normal toddler attitude. Not just crying because he didn’t get his way. I mean breaking things, pushing, hitting. Himself. The wall. Me.
While we still deal with some of this, I think things are shifting to 50/50. 50 percent smiles and 50 percent tears. But I will take it, and I never knew a 50/50 could feel so good. For everyone!
This also comes with another burden. I think I like him just a little bit more. I lied…I love this little guy.
A lot!!! I call these two beautiful children “my boys”.
I think there is a lot to be said for going through AND surviving a little layer of hell and coming out on the other side with someone. I had looked for the light at the end of the tunnel and couldn’t find it. I didn’t know when the struggle and the grief would end. And for the optimist like me, that is a really disheartening place to be.
Why do we do foster care? Why do we sacrifice our time, our life, our little slice of sanity for a child that isn’t technically “ours”? To save a child from a life doomed for failure. If there is one thing I have learned in all of this, is that parents are solely responsible for raising their children to become beneficial members to society. Some children do have real, psychological and physical issues that has nothing at all to do with parenting. Please understand what I am saying. There are children born everyday with potential for great things. For being kind. For being smart. And that potential is ruined when a parent refuses to be selfless. To be loving. To make good choices and make every choice FOR their child. I am also not perfect so don’t think I have all the answers but what I do know is that children need time, attention, boundaries and real love.
Who suffers when parents are selfish? The children. And it isn’t their fault!!
So as I think about the fact that one day this little boy may go back to his parents, I don’t cry for me, entirely. My heart doesn’t hurt for me, entirely. Sure, I will be sad for me and for all of us, but I all I want is for this little boy to have to best shot at this life. Lord knows it’s hard enough to make it in the world with good parents and limitless opportunities at our fingertips. I pray for this little boy. I pray that God will give me peace when/if the day comes. But how do I really prepare myself for that? How do I not get attached? How do you pour your soul into another tiny soul, watch them struggle and watch them change for the better and not care what happens to them in the future?
I don’t know. And I honestly can’t bear the thought. So pray for us. Pray for this situation. Pray that God would prepare our hearts to give up this little one if the day comes. I feel like he completes our family. I don’t see our future without him, but you never know. Nothing makes me happier than the four of us in these family photos! I forced myself to get pictures of just us and Graham in the event our foster baby can’t be a part of future family pictures.
This is how it goes. I knew this would happen. But it doesn’t make it easier.