Sunday, April 2, 2017

It deals with me.

Sometimes I get tired of processing how foster care affects me.  I have a therapist for other reasons, and that's a good thing.  We've talked about how other things may be coming out during this break, other things about past fostering experiences, past losses and challenges.  It is good.  I have supportive people processing with me.  That's also good.  I'm a fairly reflective person, but after talking to the third or fourth person in a week about how I'm doing, sometimes I start to get monotone, start to close up and give shorter answers.

But I have to keep dealing with the grief, the stress, and the worry or it deals with me.

I felt like I had a couple rough weeks after Crocodile's move, then I was feeling unusually fine, then I was moving into what felt like "normal" missing of a special person.  I watched videos of him and felt a little sad.  I thought of things he would like to do with us and felt the loss tug my heart.  Then I moved on.  I breathed a sigh of relief that maybe this was it.

Then I started sinking down again.  I had a day of really not being okay.  I had just talked to a dear friend about how change just makes us sad, and it frustrates us that we have to endure it, we just need to.  I still felt so frustrated with myself.  I just didn't want to.

Back up, back down.  Today was a difficult start because of a dream.  I dreamt Caterpillar crossed the street running to the caseworker I was with.  He was about 4 years old.  It took him a moment, but he recognized me and just glowed.  I embraced him and picked him up off the ground.  But then he got very serious and kept saying "I made baby sick."  What baby?  We crossed the street.  There was a house with four kids, including an older baby hooked up to some otherworldly sorts of tubes.  There were no adults in the home.  Did he reunify?  What was going on?  The caseworker disconnected the baby from the tubes and we walked around together some more, Caterpillar, the baby, the caseworker and myself.  The caseworker was going on and on about how happy the baby was.  She was cute, but I was upset, anxious.  Why had Caterpillar said "I made baby sick?"  Who was taking care of these kids?

I woke up.  Soon after, Dinosaur came into our room earlier than he's supposed to and I blew up at the poor child.

It's still dealing with me, that's for sure.

Tonight, I wish I could give any of them a hug.  See a smile.  See them run to the arms of their loving caregiver and see they are loved though I can't show it to them daily.  Breathe in the scent of each child.  Exhale.

April 2013

Something made me stop and think the other day about how the dates lined up.  Were we foster parents yet when Crocodile was born?  I thought through the timelines, and no, we were a couple weeks away from being licensed.

So, I thought more about April 2013.

Dinosaur was 4.  Rhinoceros was 2.  I didn't have a child in elementary school yet.

We were stressing over licensing details, even though the process had been pretty smooth.  What on earth could we have found stressful in that?  It's hard to understand now.  I was teaching in the evenings and B was working at his old company.

Pterodactyl, Beetle, and Caterpillar were not born yet.

Cricket was a couple months old.  Was her sister taking care of her?  Her grandma that had her own issues?  Had she met Gina yet, her fictive kin "granny" that would eventually adopt her?  What did she look like?  I never saw baby pictures of her.

Crocodile was born.  It would reveal too much of his story to tell what I know about April 2013 and Crocodile.  It was a hopeful time following tragedy, but some were still tentative about that hope.  And unfortunately that hope was fleeting.  I have seen baby pictures of him, true newborn pictures that I was quick to save from Facebook and would later send on to his adoptive family.  He looks like your basic newborn, and his face changed a lot from his newborn face.  Still precious, though.

Now it's April 2017.

Dinosaur is 8.  Rhinoceros is 6.  They're both in elementary school.  They have been big brothers to five children and said five goodbyes.  They have helped, fought with, taught, played with, ignored, cuddled, and loved those five children.

I am teaching part-time during the day and B works at a new company, similar hours.

Pterodactyl, Beetle, and Caterpillar, and Tadpole are all 3 or 4 years old.  I assume Pterodactyl and Beetle were adopted by the families they moved to, but was never told for sure.  I am even less sure about Caterpillar.  Tadpole was adopted by his foster family he was with when we did respite, and I've seen him several times since.

Cricket is 5.  She has been adopted with her sister.  She'll be in kindergarten this fall.

Crocodile is 4 and is living with his new parents and five sisters, two that were there when he was that newborn in April 2013.  Hopefully they will finalize adoption this year.  I wonder and worry about those hopeful people in his life in April 2013.  I pray redemption is still ahead.