Thursday, September 29, 2016

Miss Carrie's Songs

I always wish I could know the inside of our kids' brains.  This is especially true with our foster children, who have memories we don't know, who are processing their experiences in ways we don't understand.

Crocodile thinks the case aides that supervise visits and have sometimes transported him to visits are very important people.  He often includes them in lists of family members, and when they were transporting, he would always talk about visits as "Miss Carrie coming to pick me up" or "Miss Beth driving me in her car."  We'll turn onto a street and he'll tell me that Miss Carrie drove that way to pick up his sisters.  Kid is three!

But my favorite part is when he says, "Miss Carrie played this song."  He says it most often for the Christian radio station, which we listen to maybe 30% of the time.  Sometimes it's for songs that I know she might have played, as I've asked and she did listen to the same station, but other times it's impossible.  She stopped driving him for visits five months ago, and these are new songs.  There must be something in the music.  He says this several times per week.  He never says it for other stations or music, with one exception.  I've become a huge Hamilton fan and listen to it often (careful to turn down the volume at key parts).  "History Has Its Eyes on You" started up and sure enough: "Miss Carrie played this song!"  Apparently this song, and this one alone, somehow sounds like the Christian radio station.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

There will be a home

I say to people, when I explain that we're just fostering, that hopefully if he needs to be adopted, there will be a home for him and his sisters.  And if not, there are many homes for a young child like him with mild issues.

But part of my heart turns to ice.

Who are these people?  They don't know my Crocodile.  Do they know how he used to be scared of water but now he's not?  Do they know how he cowered in the corner that first night?  Do they know how he likes to talk about his mama and about five or six other people and how he is used to the response, "oh yes, she is so special to you."  Will they sense when he needs one-on-one attention, or he will lash out?  Do they know he just can't stop moving until he falls asleep, that's he's not really trying to be defiant?

It sounds like I think no one can be like us.  I know in my mind that is not true.  I know we are not great and wonderful.  I know there are wonderful parents out there.

It has been hard every time to picture them living a different life, away from us and all the things we know for that child.  We write notes, but it's not the same.  We know it won't be the same.

And we know it doesn't have to be.  But of the many things that make my mothering heart churn with the difficulties of foster care, this is one at the top of the list.

I pray and trust that there is so much more than I can imagine.  That God made my heart this way, but that doesn't mean my heart is always right.  He made it to love fiercely so that I could do all I do for these kids.

But His love is much more fierce, His plans much greater.

I have to breathe, bury down what feels wrong as a devoted mother.  This is what we do.  We love and we let go when we need to.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Family photo revelation

I've argued with myself on professional family photos now and then. 

I'm not a person who needs family photos to send at Christmas every year.  But I do like to have them every few years.  When we became foster parents, that became more complicated.  We could include foster children, but some stayed briefly and wouldn't be included.  It would feel strange to have Crocodile in a family photo session but not Cricket, or Pterodactyl but not Beetle.  While we've done an amateur family photo with each foster child, to do a full session with each placement would have been impractical. 

But at the same time, we've been fostering over three years.  I wanted some family photos during that time.  One session happened because we were out of town visiting family and Pterodactyl was in respite, so a family member did a session for us.  But even that was three years ago now.  And it does feel uncomfortable and wrong to have family photos that don't include children that we view as part of our family, and that our kids view as part of our family.  I figured we would do a photo session once Crocodile moved, but I felt half-hearted about it.  It doesn't feel right to wait for a child to leave so you can cut him out of the photos.

Then it hit me today.  The handprints.  We have each child make a handprint on a small canvas square painted in a solid color.  The first three are in this post.  We would have a picture of us holding the handprints.  We could line up, holding the canvasses in our hands, like we still hold on to these children as a part of our family.

Because we do.  Today at Bible study a woman prayed a prayer about the pain of separation from those we love.  Cricket popped into my mind and I was instantly in tears.

I love the idea of this photo, and I love that I'm looking forward to it.  We miss out a lot on the excitement of looking forward in foster care because of all the uncertainty.  But this, this I think we can manage.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Awkward Moments in Foster Care: Unclear Pronunciation of 3-year-olds

Thanks to therapy, we have people in our home more often, which I think leads to more awkward moments.  This week's:

Crocodile: Daddy give me spankin.
Me: What did you say?
Crocodile: He give me spankin.
Me: I don't think... I don't think that's what he means...
Crocodile: He give me spankin.  *holds up play food piece of bacon*
Therapist and Me: He gives you BACON!

And yes, B did give Crocodile a small piece of his bacon this morning.  And now I'm doing my post-game analysis: did I clarify why I was horrified?  Because I wasn't horrified because we spank him but because after signing at least twelve forms that we swear we will not spank I know a looming investigation when I see one.  But I didn't SAY any of that...