We have therapy here in our house. Well, we go to the Green House Center for Growth and Learning. Our kidlets have needed it to handle all of the changes in their lives and to deal with the grief and loss. Honestly, I think I've needed it too.
When a person signs up to be a foster parent, they haven't a clue what it really means. We signed up to be foster parents two and a half years ago. Our third year anniversary as foster parents will come in October. As a family of 7!! now, I'm not sure that we will continue. My mind changes from day to day. Time will tell.
I think we all start for about the same reasons; wanting to help, wanting to make a difference in someone's life, and wanting to help a child's spirit grow. Our reasons are still the same after these two years, but you encounter so many different feelings as you deal with each placement. We have had a total of four placements. One of which was only a shelter (temporary) placement. The very first placement was a struggle. We were new and I don't think I was fully prepared or knew how to handle what we encountered. That child eventually ended up leaving our home and being moved to a more specialized home. One was the Gab and Bug placement, and the last is the children who came back to us a second time.(so maybe five, but one set was twice-if that makes sense)
How different each experience has been! Each with its own set of unique circumstances. Each has helped me to grow in a way that I couldn't have imagined. Each has reiterated to me that I can do hard things. Sometimes, really hard things.
The first time our three were placed with us was an amazing experience. We always felt that they were "our" kids. They were able to grow and do so well in our home. They were able to make incredible attachments to us, something that we had not experienced prior, except for our lovely nieces. I had a hard time dealing with their birth mother at that point. Looking back at it now I realize how many things I could have done differently to help the situation, but at the time I was oblivious. As hard as it is for me to admit, I looked at her as someone who shouldn't be given a second chance ever--no. matter. what. In my eyes she didn't deserve these beautiful children. She was, however, given a second chance despite my feelings. Unfortunately, it didn't work out as the kids are now with us again.
This second time the kids came to us has given me insight. I think I can attribute that to being a mommy to my Gab and Bug. I have a different perspective on, well, everything. It's allowed me to empathize with the birth moms and grandparents in a way I could never have done before. I realize now how hard it must be for any parent to have their children taken away, even when it is blatantly obvious where the blame lies. My kids will love their birth parents forever, regardless. Re.Gard.Less. Birth Families are and will be a part of them, forever. Loving them doesn't take anything away from me, just as loving my other children takes nothing away from them. I have accepted that and am able to embrace it now.
(and it took me a looong time to figure that out)
Children are blessings, miracles even. Being pregnant and giving birth to a child is a miracle, and one that I may not experience. BUT! But, my friends, having Heavenly Father send your child to you through an alternative way is indeed miraculous. I have experienced many miracles in my life. Small ones, big ones, life changing ones. Perhaps I use the term too loosely, but I think not.
Growing up with amazing parents (who made their share of mistakes. I did say amazing, not perfect :P), meeting my husband on an internet based chat eons ago, being sealed for eternity in the Mt.Timpanogos Temple, Gabby, Bugga, T, C, and Y....all are miracles in my life. Superb blessings from a most loving Father in Heaven. I am blessed.
Fostering is a different ball game. It's hard. It can suck. a lot. But, watching the children grow and learn and BE. Amazing.