It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I am actually pretty neutral when it comes to celebrating the holidays. I understand the meaning behind them and I am truly thankful for the time I get to spend with my family and friends. I always thought that when I had a family of my own, I would get more into the spirit of decorating, Christmas carols, hot cider and all things “Holiday-ish”, but since that has not happened… I have remained my same ‘ole “neutral” self! LOL! Since I have owned my own home, I have never really decorated for the holidays… enter this little one! She enjoys EACH holiday and wants me to participate in it all! LOL! I have been adjusting and obliging… lol… just because I know it will make her happy. I haven’t written in a while, I have been busy with travel, work, fitness/nutrition and overall parenting. So let me see if I can make sense with this post…
Foster Parents Still Get to Travel
As I was preparing to go out of the country, the question I got the most was “What are you going to do with the little one?” It almost feels like most people think that when you foster you are not allowed to continue with normal life. I mean of course life changes, but you still get to go on vacation or do normal things that you would do in life without a placement. The department provides up to 7 days a year of respite care for all foster youth… and they urge you to use them. I started early with my caseworker trying to get respite care for the little one, but no one really seemed interested. Mainly because my little one doesn’t participate in before or aftercare, so most folks work schedules would not allow for them to get her to and from school. Luckily, my introverted self surprisingly made friends during my training class and I was able to call a couple from my class to see if they were interested in providing respite care. They had recently gotten their license (even though we were in the same training class) and they were eager to see how they could work their schedules for the time when they did get a call for a placement. A win-win for all! My little one did stay with them for the days I was away… and two days after she left them they received a call for the placement of two week old twin boys (swoon)! I had a great time away! I slept and ate whatever… LOL and got to spend time with my European family! It was a great time of refresh for me. When I got back, it was apparent that the little one missed me as she clung to me for most of the evening and next day. The night I got back, I told my mom that the little one missed me so much that I am sure she was going to let me know how much she missed me during the week… and boy was I right!
Tantrums, Tantrums, and MORE Tantrums!
During the first week I was back I couldn’t get a break, if she was not clinging to me, she was fussing or fighting with me. It was not fun! Coupled with jet lag… I was so tired and frustrated it took a lot of strength and patience to not yell at her or just scream. Some nights before I prayed, I would just yell into my pillow all of the things I wanted to say to her… then I prayed for patience to deal with her the next day. The first tantrum was because I asked her to do her homework. The longest 17 minutes of my life as she yelled, cried and screamed. She used her usual, “I miss my mom!” as a way of manipulating me to allow her to have her way. This time I quickly said, “NO!”, but then I auto corrected to tell her that I know she misses her mom, but that does not mean that she doesn’t have to listen and obey. The worst tantrum of the week was on Friday… it was a black Friday indeed! We were actually having a very good day. We got a Christmas tree, went to the movies, and then went to the library to read and play. While we were at the library, my little one started playing with another little girl. They were playing fine for about 30 minutes… then the little girl comes out crying to her mom. Oh brother….! I ask my little one to come to me… and she immediately has an attitude. I ask her if she wants to leave, she says no… so I ask her to tell me what is wrong. She tells me that the other little girl took her doll back. I try to explain that the little girl shared her doll with her for a long time, but if she wants to play with it… I can’t make her share. It’s her doll that she brought from home. I also told her that she still should be kind and say nice words, even when folks are not so kind to her. So I asked her if she wanted to continue playing with the little girl, but if she did.. she could just say sorry and continue playing. She didn’t want to, so I told her it was time to go. OMG!!!!!! She had a total meltdown. She wouldn’t put on her jacket, she wouldn’t move… so I held her wrist. She started hitting me and YELLING in the library, “GET OFF OF ME… YOU’RE HURTING ME!” I explained that if she walked I would not have to hold her wrist. Mind you, I was not holding her wrist tightly… she just didn’t want me to hold her. I did let go and told her to walk… but she wouldn’t move. So I had to pick her up and take her out of the library all while she is screaming, “GET OFF OF ME!!! STOP!!!” I was so scared that someone was going to call the cops on me. LOL! A black lady removing a Hispanic child out of the library. I always carry my placement letter with me… just in case I have to explain myself.
It was not fun, but I made it through. A friend who is also going through the foster process (but she is adopting) came over to my house to talk me through and reassure me that I handled myself properly. I beat myself up a lot because I sometimes just don’t know what to do. I actually take comfort in talking with bio parents that experience similar things with their children. It makes me know that I am not alone… and that I am really doing the best I can. She had no less than 5 tantrums/meltdowns during that week… FIVE!
Calling me “Mom” and sooo attached
Yup! Although she doesn’t call me “mom” she still says, “CC, you’re my mom.” I just look at her and say, “but your mom’s name is…” and she says her mom’s name. I let her know that I am taking care of her like a mom and I am happy to do it. She is also very attached to me… VERY. People comment on it all the time. I am not a very “touchy feely” person in general, I have gotten better as an adult… but this little one wants to hug me all the time, give me kisses and tells me she loves me. It is hard for me to take all of that in… LOL! I let her kiss me on the cheek a few times a day, but sometimes I have to say no. It’s a little much for me and I plan to speak to her therapist about it soon.
So… What’s next?
We’re getting ready for the holidays around here. Like I said, I never had a Christmas tree or had decorations so I’ve put up a Christmas tree and a few other things around the house… she LOVES it! I still don’t know what is going to happen with her case. She has a court date coming up next month… so I just have to wait and see. Her caseworker says that it will be a while, but you never know what the judge will say. I can be honest and say that sometimes, I just want it to be over. I know that parenting is hard, I’ve heard my friends say it, I’ve heard experts say it, I’ve heard other foster parents say it… and I feel bad for thinking it [the placement to end] sometimes. I think I just get so tired of “fighting” with her over things. I do pick and choose my battles with her, but for the most part… I am the only disciplinarian. I am the only one to tell her to brush her teeth, take a bath, do her homework, or go to bed. I am the only one regulating what she eats, making sure that healthy options are around everywhere. When she goes home on the weekends, I don’t know what happens… I do know that she for the most part gets her way and that they give her candy (she tells me that, lol!). It’s hard being the only one providing structure and discipline, but I am making it through with help from my friends and mom.
For now, we are just continuing to find our normal. I signed her up for gymnastics and she starts next week… she is so excited.
I think that’s all for now, thanks for reading!