My last post was 7 months ago, in May, and to be honest, I have not thought much about this blog in the past 7 months. I really wanted to write a reflective post on Thanksgiving Day, as it marked the one year anniversary of getting a negative pregnancy test after our IVF cycle. It also marked the one year since we did anything related to fertility. As I write this I am amazed that it has been a year since we have looked at donors, worried about counts, had blood taken, had a thousand doc appointments, charted days, examined fluid, and not lived in two week time frames. If you notice that within the list of things I have not done in a year, I have left out two important TTC components: tears and worry. As many of you know, Violet and I removed ourselves from the TTC to get into another world that has it’s own list of pros/cons and acronyms. We have been approved foster parents since May 2011.
Since May we have been foster parents to 7 children. Yes, you read that number correctly and no, not all at the same time. The children we have fostered have ranged in age from 5 months to 11 years old. Currently, we are parents to an eleven year old girl, “K”, a five-year old boy, “S”,and a three-year-old girl, “M”.
K (11-year-old) came to us on May 19th from another foster home. This February, she will have been in the foster care system for two years. She has three brothers that live in different foster homes. She actually was a student of mine when she came to live with us. She is kind, loving and beautiful. She is a pleasure to parent and also very trying at times. Being in a negative environment for most of her life has taught her many maladaptive behaviors that we are consistently battling against. She can make us laugh and pull out our hair within the same minute. We love her greatly. She had been in a foster home for a year and a half when she came to us for “just the weekend”. Since she came for the weekend, she has never left our home and that was seven months ago. If all goes well, we will be adopting her sometime in the future. Her parents still have their rights, but there will be a hearing sometime this year for her parents rights to be terminated. It will probably be another year and a half to two years before the adoption goes through. We do not view her as a foster child, she is our daughter. She calls us Mim and Mimmy and refers to us as her moms. At times, I stop and think how weird it is that all of a sudden, I am a mother to an eleven year old daughter.
“M” (3-year-old) and” S” (5-year-old) are brother and sister and came to live with us on October 20th. They are darling, fun and we immediately feel in love with them. It is hard not knowing how long they will be with us and we get more attached each day. It is a difficult place to be in, because we know that if their parents can get it together, it is in their best interest to be with their parents. However, we know that we can offer better parenting and opportunities that their parents are unable to or do not know how to. It is also difficult because we are attached to these little guys. We know that there is a relative that wants to take them as well. We do not know much, besides the fact that the relative lives with someone who may or may not have a green card and that would have to be sorted out before the kids go and live with the relative. We wait and see and try to love, parent and care for these children without attaching completely. It is hard.
As you can imagine, our life is packed full and immensely busy. I have grown as a parent and formed good and bad habits that I am working on. The children that have come into our home and been part of our lives have taught me so much about myself. I have learned that I am very motherly and tender, but do not have as much patience as I once believed. I have also learned that I am consistent, but often too strict and need to give children more room for error and take a few minutes to breath before entering some situation.
Fostering has been so rewarding to us and put us situations and gave us memories that this time last year we did not know would be possible. At the same time, it is very heartbreaking and there is a great deal of waiting. We love these children as our own and try our best to get them ready for the world and the next stage in their life. My hearts melts when they spontaneously come up to us in the middle of the day and say “I love you, Mim”. We wait to see if they will become part of our family forever or if they will return to their birth family. I must clarify that we know our role and support the parents in any way we can. However, some days it is hard because even though we want the parents to be able to have their children with them so that bond is not broken, there is still that yearning deep deep down that wants my family to be complete. We will mourn M and S when they leave and hope that their parents will allow us to be part of the their lives, but we will also relish in the fact that we were their safe haven during a dark and scary time.