So as you know, things were going really well…and remember what I said about “jinxing” things.  Yeah, well—dot, dot, dot!

I don’t REALLY believe in the power of “jinx” but my life does have a habit of kicking my ass just when I’m feeling good about things.  I don’t mean this to sound pitiful.  It’s just part of life.  The best times come from getting through the tough ones.

Three days after I wrote this blog things started going downhill.  Slowly, then crash, BOOM!

Part of fostering is something called “shared parenting”.

The idea behind “shared parenting” (spoken in a sweet fairy godmother-type voice) is to help the families build their relationship in an effort to prepare them for reunification.

YEAH RIGHT!!!

Shared parenting can pretty much be defined as: taking the kids that you love to weekly emotional torture sessions, resulting in mental turmoil that wreaks havoc on your day-to-day lives for a minimum of five days following said visit.  It is a TEST to see of the parents have got their shit together and a complete mind-#@&% for the kids.

Our situation is especially fun because we are dealing with grandparents (who the kids lived with all their lives) and the mother who has been…around most of their lives.  The mother and the grandmother do not get along, so we have to have separate visits with each of them every week.

Back when I said that things had gotten better, we seemed to have a handle of visits.  The kids have always responded well to visits with “mom” (I say “mom” because they don’t identify her as their mother) this is most likely because they are used to seeing her every-once-in-a-while, but visits with grandmother on the other hand result in complete turmoil for several days unless they are CLOSLEY supervised.

So, like I was saying, things were going well.   Visits with mom were going smoothly and visits with Grandma were tightly watched.  This is until 3/23!  The visit was at a park instead of DSS or McDonalds.  She had lots of time to fill their little heads with whatever garbage she wanted.  The two older ones tend to blow her off, guess they’re somewhat used to her behavior, but the little one…not so much.

This was the Wednesday before the Friday that we left for the beach.

Come Friday we noticed that the little one seemed very withdrawn.  He suddenly detached from us- like overnight.  He had gone from being my “snuggle bunny” with hugs for no reason followed by “I love yous” to nothing.  It was like someone had told him that we didn’t love him and he shut us out.

WE WERE AT THE BEACH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD and he could barely smile unless he was REALLY distracted by something.  It was pitiful.

The following week we had another loosely supervised visit which ended in her telling him IN FRONT OF ME (I’m sure to show me how wonderful she is) that JESUS told her that he was being bad.

WTF?!?!?!?!?!  JESUS?!?!?!?  HER?!?!?!?  Un-mother-effing-believable!

We were in the mall food court and he ran from her and hid in the restroom.  I was speechless.  All I could say was, “He’s a good boy. He’s doing really well.”  And she told me that she knew it needed to be said, she’s a little “witchy” and can sense these things.  She “raised him better than this” and she “doesn’t know where he gets this behavior”.

I wanted punch her in the face.

That night, unsurprisingly, things got worse.  He became exceptionally defiant and was trying to do and say anything he could to hurt our feelings and make us mad.

We had court the next day, she came up and apologized to me.  I told her that we didn’t believe in recognizing bad behavior for no reason and reiterated that he was doing very, very well.

BLOOD BOILING!!!

Friday the kids went to respite care.  Brett and I needed a break.  They had a really great time and asked if they could go back again soon.  This made me feel good.  Next time I don’t have to feel guilty sending them off for the weekend.

Sunday night was a little rough, but we got through it.  The little one was back to being defiant, but it wasn’t anything we couldn’t handle.  He was still trying to be mean, but we have thick skin.  Monday however was a completely different scenario.  Monday he lost his shit.

The meltdown started about about 3:45, but 4:15 when the therapist got there for her scheduled visit, he was a gonner.  Completely irrational, couldn’t calm down, was— I don’t know, just gone.

She spent two hours trying to calm him down and nothing worked.  She recommended that we call the on-call social worker to be on stand-by in case he needed to leave our home.  She was.  He did.

I can’t even begin to tell you how painful it is to have a social worker come to you home at 7pm and take your (foster) child away, kicking and screaming “I don’t want to leave”.  Brett had to physically carry him.  All I could do is…nothing.  Oh my god, no words.

The plan was for us to pick him up the next morning.  It was explained to him that he just needed a break so he could calm down and get a good night’s rest.  I don’t think he believed us.

The respite family (mom) who had him that night called me shortly after he had fallen asleep.  She said that had wanted to call to talk to me but he’d fallen asleep before she was able to call.  He was exhausted.

The next morning I picked him up and took him to school.  The first thing he said to me when we got in the car was, “I hate you guys”.

That’s understandable.

I said, “Well we love you very much and we’re so glad that you’re coming home today.  We missed you a lot, we just wanted you to come here for the night so you could calm down and get some rest.”

“I still hate you”

“Did you sleep good last night?”

“Yes”

“Do you feel better today?”

“Yes”

“Good!”

“Now lets back into that gold Saturn parked behind us”

Okay, that last part didn’t really happen.  Well actually it did, but I didn’t say it and it wasn’t on purpose.  Oops!

Turns out it was a nice ice breaker though AND a good teaching moment.  I told him that I had to take responsibility for my mistake and went and knocked on the neighbor’s door to tell them what had happened.  I gave her my contact information and explained to him that I was now going to have to pay them money to fix there car since I broke it.

I think he got it.  Hopefully.

Tuesday night wasn’t TOO bad and Wednesday night was pretty bad.

Today we had a long conversation with the social worker about what needs to happen and the general consensus is (was) to have him “exited from our home”.

I know in my heart that there is only so much I can do.  I realize that he may be more than we can handle, and that we may not be the right type of foster home for him, he may need to be placed in a therapeutic home.  I get it, but, but, but…

Brett reminded me that sometimes we have to remember that this is a job and that I can’t get too attached I told him that I knew that.  Again, I get it.  But this is different.  This isn’t about me being attached to him, this is about the BOND that we HAD.

The social worker mentioned a possible diagnosis of Reactive Attachment Disorder (read about it, just a few sentences, it SUCKS and it completely unavoidable but almost always unchangable).  if this is in fact what he has, there is very little hope for him.  I realize that I can’t fix every child that comes through my door, but I certainly don’t want to be PART of the problem.

I’m not sure what will happen from here.  I am happy to report that despite some bucking this morning, this afternoon we seemed to have the “old snugglebunny” back.  Not sure, how or why.  Although I’d like to think that it’s because he remembered that he is safe and loved in our home,  I know deep down (or not so deep) that there is an extreme possibility that no matter how much we love him, no matter what we do to tell him, no matter the ways we show him, he may never be able to understand what it is to be loved or how TO love, truly.

Seven years old.

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