Wednesday, April 3, 2013

On being a (crappy) foster mom, and other misc. musings

I should be cleaning my kitchen right now.

Ha ha . . . that's how every blog post of mine should start.

I should be doing laundry . . .
I should be finishing emails . . .
I should be relaxing or reading a book . . .
I should be sleeping . . .

I always have things to do, and every time I sit to write, I think about how I SHOULD be doing something else.

But I know that I really SHOULD be writing, because when I don't my mind gets jumbled with thoughts and feelings, and I have a really hard time processing how I feel.

One thing that's been on my heart is that I feel like a crappy foster mom.

There. It's out.

There are things that I didn't think I would do as a foster mom, and now, I've done them. And I feel super guilty about that.

Mainly, this revolves around respite. But also day care.

Maddy and I have been sick. I had a cough last week, but it was manageable and not really concerning to me. Once Ryan came home from being gone for a week, I think my body finally gave itself permission to REALLY get sick.

I started having coughing fits that brought me to my knees and made me feel like I might pass out or suffocate. Sometimes at night, I really wondered if I would be able to breathe. Every deep breath (and by deep, I mean not intentionally shallow) brought on crazy spasms, and I just coughed, and coughed and coughed. (Those of you who saw me, or talked to me on the phone, you know it wasn't pretty.)

On Easter Sunday, it got better during the day, but at night at my mom and dad's, I was just plain miserable. Maddy started complaining (hmmmm, that's the understatement of the year) . . . Maddy started crying, whining, and throwing fits (much better) for hours and it was hard to console her.

For a few minutes, we got her calmed down and we had a short and sweet Easter egg hunt, but then it was back to the crying and writhing around in pain.

My mom suggested we try to get respite the next day for little miss . . . and while I am opposed to it on a conceptual level (I would NEVER let a complete stranger come pick up Maddy and take her for the night), I knew I really couldn't handle both girls on my own. Or even with Ryan. (Honestly, the four of us adults had a hard enough time taking care of both kiddos.) So I arranged for respite care for the following day and night.

That night was horrible and reaffirmed my need for respite. I think I finally went to sleep around the time the sun came up, and Ryan took the girls and let me sleep till 10:30. At some point, the respite woman came and picked up little miss, and I didn't even have it in me to crawl out of bed and say good-bye or talk to the mom. I stayed in bed with Maddy till after noon, because she was still throwing fits and writhing about in pain. (And of course, all she wanted was mommy.)

Ryan played nurse and brought us everything we could need, and doled out the meds.

I took Maddy to the Drs, and that took about every ounce of energy I had. Turns out Maddy had another ear infection, and her ear drum likely ruptured --- which accounts for the writhing around and inconsolable crying. (I've had my ear drum rupture before, and man does it hurt!)

Besides the trip to the drs, and a short stint on the couch to watch a movie, I pretty much slept for a day and a half. And Maddy spent all that time with me. When she starting throwing up as a result of her antibiotics, I thought, "Yep . . . there's no way I could've handled two tonight."

And today, when I got up again after noon. . . I really felt like the rest did both of us good.

But it bothered me that little miss was at some stranger's house. No, that's not entirely it. What really bothers me is that having little miss with a stranger didn't bother me ENOUGH.

I wasn't up all night worrying about her. I wasn't calling or emailing or texting. I wasn't being the helicopter mom I imagined I would have been if it were Maddy.

And THAT is what bothered me.

I mean the girl was picked up by a stranger, spent the night at their house. Then was picked up by a case worker I hadn't met, and taken to see bio parents. Then taken by same (new) caseworker and brought to us. It seems like that would be confusing to her.

Am I not as attached to little miss as I am to Maddy? Why do I assume she can handle being with strangers just because she's a foster child? Does that make her a different breed of human  . . . the kind who is more resilient and less in need of security? Why would I think it's ok for little miss but NEVER think it would be OK for Maddy?

Which is the exact same struggle I have with day care.

I am very thankful Maddy never had to go to day care. But here I send little miss off for a few hours twice a week, and I wonder why in the world I'm doing it.

Ok, Ok,  I know why. So she has some sort of stable place. Because if I don't, then I'll lose day care for good. And what would happen if I really needed it after all?

But if we were to have one of our own, I'd never send one off to day care, and keep the other one home. So why am I doing that now?

When little miss got home today, she looked more confused than happy to see us. She warmed up to us again after a bottle and bath, and seemed to enjoy our walk outside. She played cute games and smiled and giggled.

But I wondered if passing her off this soon would affect her attachment to us. Is day care affecting her attachment? Is she just getting passed around too much?

SO there you go. I feel like a crappy foster mom because I've always wanted our foster child to feel as much like our family as any of our bio kids. And treating one different than the other just feels wrong to me -- but I keep doing it.

So what to do?

In other news, I really do want to write a book. It's been on my heart and mind for some time. But sometimes a book seems so big, and my blog seems so small.

I thought about submitting an article for an online magazine. But the thought of it scared me, and I wondered, "Who am I to write for a magazine??"

Then I thought, "Silly me. Why would I think people would want to read an entire book if they couldn't stomach an 800-word article?"

It's so easy to dream big -- but when it comes to the small things that lead up to your big dream, it's just as easy to feel daunted and back away.

If my business has taught me anything -- it's that the small things lead to the big things.  So I guess I need to write that article.

One last thought -- I still really want to be pregnant.

I know that sounds weird, because I have a baby in my arms and I love her so very much. I don't understand this need to have a child in my uterus. But there you go. It's still a longing I feel every single day. I can't get rid of it, and I can't explain it. It just is.

But we definitely aren't trying. After stupid period from hell last week, we (I) decided I had had enough. Every month, it gets worse and I feel so out of control with my body. So birth control it is.

Ok, Ok, one last thought -- for real this time.

I just want to say thank you. Thank you, mom, for the laundry and food. Thank you friends for the amazingly delicious meals you blessed us with last week. Thank you Bethany and Kristin for helping me with laundry. Thanks Kristin for the awesome babysitting, and clean kitchen -- and time watching "Call the Midwife."  Thank you Jessica, Jeanne and Cherie for the clothes. Thank you Stevie for the gift card and absolutely precious peapod. Thank you Syndi for always offering to help. Thank you Deanna and Darin for giving little miss an awesome first family, and for being so supportive to our family throughout this time. Thanks for trusting us with your little girl. And thanks Deanna for arranging meals!

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us, or kept up on my facebook page, or followed my blog, or encouraged me in so many, many ways.

Thanks everyone for being the hands and feet of Jesus by ministering to us in so many special ways.

Love to you all,


1 comment:

  1. Rachel, thank you for being beautifully authentic. I am the founder of Adoption Doulas and I'd love to connect with you - you can email me at <3