The Center of the Earth

I’ll warn you now, this is not the type of post you’ll want to read if you’re triggered by trauma related topics, specifically, sexual trauma. If you choose to read this, know that it’s full of detailed revelations, not details of my experience. It only looks long but I assure you, it reads easily. That said, here we go…

Many of you are aware of the sexual assault that happened to me when I was 6 years old by a man 70 years my senior. We knew him, he was like the neighborhood grandpa, but that all changed one afternoon. For a very long time, even in this moment, I take some sort of responsibility for this happening. Yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds, but is it really? I can argue with you all of my reasons but it won’t change your opinion or mine.

I went to therapy today after work and we have been scratching the surface of my sexual assault. It has been something I have wanted to talk about for a long time in therapy but whenever the subject comes about, I put on my avoidance pants and take a sharp turn toward Nopesville – population: me. It’s not deliberate but it happens every time. My therapist (thankfully) called me out on it today and said that next week we really need to start focusing on that. My request to her was to jerk me back on track when I pull the avoidance card. She laughed and reminded me that avoidance is one of the most significant symptoms of chronic PTSD.

Here’s where this blog gets sticky. Where I feel excessively vulnerable. Where I’m afraid to say what I’m about to say publicly. So why bring it up? Well, for one thing, I know that openly speaking about this means that I am ready for a change – as scary as it might be. For another, I know too many of my friends that are right here with me. I’m giving myself a voice but I’m giving them one too. Here’s your last chance to peace out.

Compliments make me very uncomfortable. Even if it doesn’t seem like it. I’m very good at looking a certain way on the surface but feeling another underneath it all. It’s hard, practically impossible, for me to just accept the compliment and move on. “Why would anyone say something nice about me? They must be just trying to be nice.” Those were the top two lines that ran through my racing mind whenever someone says something nice about me, especially my appearance. But I realized something much deeper today and it’s something so deep that I could only imagine it as being like the center of the Earth. Hard, on fire, nearly impenetrable. Impenetrable. What a disgusting word for such an awful blog topic.

I believe that my sexual trauma is the core of who I am, for the most part. The trauma responses I have to many things, my chronic PTSD, my feelings about myself and the self-sabotaging I’ve done, and the appearance that I’m trying to hide behind. Subconsciously, I believe that if I look a certain way I won’t be found attractive, which is a huge reason why I am so overweight. If I’m not found attractive then someone won’t desire me in the ways that I was desired when I was only 6 years old. “Don’t look pretty, don’t wear that, don’t maintain a healthy weight, don’t put yourself in a position that will draw attention to your looks…” All of those thoughts race through my mind about 10,000 times a day. Don’t get me wrong, this has nothing to do with someones size unless we’re talking about the fact that I subconsciously chose to look this way as a deterrent to attention. In my twisted mind, I figured if I was fat, nobody would want me and I would be safe.

I struggle with this because, just last week, I got my hair cut and colored. For two days leading up to the appointment, I thought maybe I shouldn’t go. “Don’t draw that kind of attention to yourself, Aubrey, you don’t want what happened to you before to happen to you. It’ll be your own fault…again.” I went anyway because the side of me that’s advocating for my best and healthiest self won the argument. “I deserve to feel good about myself. I deserve to go have some me time. I work really hard and I deserve to have something that nobody can take from me.” Off I went. I love how it turned out and, for the most part, my new do has been well received, but I didn’t do this for anyone else. I did it for me.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great when people notice and compliment but thinking about the internal struggles I have with compliments and self-image, I’d be okay if nobody said anything. At least then nobody would make me argue with myself about whether or not I should let that compliment sink in and feel good or if I should push it away and run from it. It’s always such an internal struggle. I’m so tired of arguing with myself about whether or not I should be allowed to feel good about me.

What I realized today is that if I’m told I’m beautiful it makes me vulnerable and scared. “If that person thinks I’m beautiful, is there a chance I’m going to be assaulted again???” I’m so fucked up. Only Aubrey can take a simple compliment and turn it into some sort of sick, delusional, statement. Full disclosure, I realize how emphatically dramatic I sound. I’m even rolling my eyes at myself. As I type this sentence I’m thinking, “Maybe you shouldn’t make this post” but now my mind is shifting into thinking, “…but what if someone else out there feels exactly the same way and they just need to know someone knows what this feels like and that they aren’t crazy, they’re just sad.”

So here it is, folks. I’m sure there will be more on this later, if I’m not too afraid to talk about it. My writing is therapeutic for me. I know I haven’t come back here since the twins left, but many of you know how things are going in my life since this blog typically gets posted to Facebook anyway. I’ll circle back later and talk about my new favorite thing to talk about – my kids! As always, your questions, comments, etc are always welcomed but if you’re going to be a dick then move along.

xo,

a

 

The Week After

Last Friday was the day. We said “see you later” to our sweet twins. They were 10 months of joy, learning, and love. As first time parents, we were tested in every way of our lives. Add an extra layer to the complexities of parenting by being a foster parent and the legalities, rules and restrictions, the constant merry-go-round of notifying at least five people at all times of our every move, and the emotional impact was exhausting.

 
We taught them to walk, to use utensils, to try different foods, we made Christmas cookies together and we got to see what Christmas is through a child’s eyes. We took them to the Children’s Museum and watched their little bodies play to exhaustion but fill their big minds with lots of interesting concepts. We had our first summer in this house with them. Many of you were there. We bought a kiddie pool and took them swimming for the first time. I remember being so disgusted but finding it hilarious when they pooped in the pool…and the tub. We swooped in like hawks to pull them out of that water. I remember feeling like a shit parent when one of them fell out of the chair, but through her lip, and bled.

We had a good relationship with their mom, we had a bad relationship with their mom, and now we’re back to having a decent relationship with her. We never had a good relationship with their dad. He’s a piece of work. I’ll leave it at that. I became the biggest fucking mama bear that ever lived and more times than I can count some people heard my roar. We took them to the doctor probably too many times in the beginning. We didn’t miss a court date. We advocated tirelessly for them. If not us, who? I don’t think we’ve laughed and cried so much in our lives. We gave every. single. bit. of ourselves to loving and protecting them. We made permanent life changes, some of them huge, for a temporary situation. We gladly made those changes knowing exactly what we were doing. We did so because they needed us and we were too happy to accommodate that.

And now they’re gone. I threw their sheets in the wash today and I cried. I knew I was washing away every trace of their angelic little selves out of those sheets forever, but I know the next kidlets will come along needing a clean and safe bed, and one will be waiting to welcome them. I don’t smell them in their room like I used to, which is both relieving and heartbreaking. Their bathroom no longer houses their Minnie Mouse potty where they’d go to after they’d point to their cute little bums and say, “Poo poo…”

This week was harder than I expected. Every day knocked the wind out of me. I was exhausted. Drained. Empty. I thought for sure my work would keep me distracted but that didn’t work. I was on my way home on Monday night and normally I’d be walking in the door to them having returned from a weekend at their moms. I’d burst into the house and my soul would ignite with joy at the sight of their little faces. When I realized that wasn’t going to happen on Monday I didn’t want to go home. In fact, I avoided it.

Tuesday came and the depression of them not being there on Monday night poured into the next day. On my way home from work, I’d normally pick the twins up from daycare on Tuesdays because that was the one day during the work week they didn’t have a visit. No picking up from daycare anymore. In fact, I just so happened to take the freeway home that day. Later that night, I realized that taking the freeway home meant I didn’t drive by their daycare on my way home. Deep in my mind I knew there was no picking them up when I got in my car. I just didn’t realize it in that moment.

Wednesday came and Mitch had to return to working the night shift. I came home to an empty house. No husband. No kids. Just me. By myself. Aching for contact and knowing it wasn’t coming. I tried my hardest to avoid feeling anything I felt on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. By Thursday and Friday I had just given in to feeling shitty. One thing about both Mitch and I, we don’t do depressed very well. We’re not really that way. Even if something hard is going on we’re still always looking at the positive. I can’t possibly explain to you how enormously impossible it felt to be positive when everything we loved walked out the door and didn’t come back.

I woke up at 3 am this morning to the musical chair going off. For a minute I thought it was all a bad dream and I was waking up to them still being here, but no. It went off 3 more times, digging in the dagger a little deeper. I laid there and cried. Mitch was at work, so I didn’t have him here to cry with. This sucks as equally for him. When he’s here in the mornings and I’m not and the girls aren’t, I know he is pained with the silence, the emptiness. When we’re together we just try to be easy on each other. Supporting each other through this has been crucial.

The few toys they weren’t attached to stayed here for the next littles we have, but for right now, they’re childless toys and we are childless parents. For anyone that ever thinks a foster parent isn’t a real parent, you kiss all of our asses. We’ve never been so committed to anything in our lives. We’ve never loved and sacrificed as hard as we did over the last 10 months. A friend told us we treat our kids better than some bio parents treat their own kids. Being parents has given us direction and purpose. We don’t like not having kids in the house right now. It’s not who we are anymore. Now that we’re on the other side of the fence and we don’t have them running around anymore, we realize we love the chaos, the schedule they need to be on, and all the ritualistic things that came with having twin toddlers.

I got in the kitchen today to craft some dishes for Easter tomorrow. I turned on the music and let myself sing and cook. I let my mind get lost in the creativity and the precision that comes with my meticulous nature when preparing dishes from scratch. It was nice to have control over something. I haven’t really felt that in awhile. As great as my new job is going, I’m still learning and trying to establish a process and I’m not learning things as fast as I want to, which drives me fucking crazy. Thankfully, I love the team I support and I love the work I do. Someday soon I’ll be a machine there. So that’s one way I feel out of control, the other is that I have no control over where the girls live anymore.

 
Sorry for the long entry. If you’re still reading this, you’re probably one of few. I likely lost people at paragraph #83. I want to thank you for being so supportive of us, this blog, and for loving us through what has been the shittiest and most incredible time of our lives. Your support has been critical to our ability to move forward. Thank you for loving us, the girls, and the kids we will someday soon welcome into our home.

xo,
a

The Beginning of the End

I know that title sounds so dramatic but it is. By next weekend at this time, our girls will be happily giggling and playing in their new permanent home – their mom’s home. We’re having a hard time processing this idea. Seems like the last few days, today especially, has been difficult to understand. We have a lot of emotions going on right now and they’re all sort of spinning around at the same time; each one contradicting the other. It’s confusing because you’re not really sure which one you should latch onto and follow.

I guess I’m just feeling sad for us. For my mom. For our friends and family. I’m fine one minute, in tears the next. I’ll probably cry 5 different times just writing this post. When I think back on all of the wonderful, pivotal memories we’ve made together my heart swells with pride, happiness, and accomplishment. And then I retreat and deflate a little (or a lot) at the impact their departure is and will have on our hearts. All of our hearts. What makes me feel really good (in a weird way) is when people on Facebook tell us that they’ll miss our girls too. To me, this means we have done a good job being transparent in our struggles and generous with our joy. To know that others have learned from, grown from, and considered this journey because of what we have shared makes us feel like we did an OK job at something we knew nothing about.

The other struggle is this: how long do we wait? We’ve been asked this question umpteen million times. Hell, we’ve asked ourselves umpteen million times too. How long is long enough? Don’t wait too long or else you’ll lose spots at the great daycare you’ve found. Don’t take more kids in too soon so it doesn’t look like you’re trying to fill a void. (For the record, no child will ever fill another child’s void.) Don’t say no for too long, you don’t want to miss the child that would have been perfect for your home. All of those things run through our minds about 20 times an hour. It’s hard to know how long we wait…or if we wait at all. We can see the plusses and minuses of each side. And as soon as we come up with a definite game plan, here comes the next little that’s sleeping in a hotel room with a social worker until the right home comes along. Now if that isn’t tragedy, I don’t know what is.

Over the last week there’s been an influx of kids coming into care. When they start using the words, “Emergency Care” or something like that, you know it’s because nobody else is willing/able/whatever to take in the child for whatever reason. I’ve lost track now at the number of kids that are in dire need for a place this weekend alone. The clothes on their backs, empty bellies, and broken hearts is all they come with sometimes. “Here! Our door is wide open! Let them all come in!” our hearts exclaim. Logically, we try to stay reserved as our hearts break when we read how sweet these kids are and how their small but significant lives are being shaken up like a martini.

We’re scared. We don’t know what the right thing to do is. We thought for sure we were going to take a break but we just look at each other and say the same thing at the same time. “As broken hearted as we are, there’s no way in hell I can let a kid have nowhere to go. We’ll do it. We’ll welcome them in.” 

Keep in mind, this is still new to us. There have been a lot of “firsts” since we got our girls in June and now this is the first goodbye. (Typing that was painful!) This is also the first time we’re having to figure out how much time we should or shouldn’t take. We won’t know what the right answer is until we do or we don’t. We’ve got a line of people 20 miles long ready and willing to give us their advice. Ready to tell us what we should do. I’ll kindly thank you for your well intentioned support. We know you’re looking out for what’s best for us. The truth is, only we can make this decision.

Do realize that we know this hurts you. You’ve read along, liked our posts and pictures, come to our parties to celebrate, supported us when we shed tears (more to come!), and sent gifts, cards, yourselves over to comfort us. You’ve engaged, believed, prayed, laughed, smiled, cared, cried, disagreed, and encouraged. You’ve felt our emotions as closely as you possibly could have without being us. Because you support us, because you follow us, you have been through the wringer, as well. It must be hard to watch people you care about be in pain over something that has been so beautiful. So maybe you aren’t ready for us to have more kids. Maybe this has been too hard for you. Trust me, we get where you’re coming from.

No promises is all I can promise at this point. I feel like we look so dumb saying we’ve got a plan and then realizing that our plan wasn’t a plan at all. Maybe it makes sense in our minds to feel like we’ve had some say in this so we’ll say we have a plan, but we now realize that in the world of foster care the plan can and likely will always change. For now, I know this much. The girls won’t be home until Monday night, they’ll have a visit with their mom on Wednesday and Thursday night, and sometime on Friday, probably in the morning, they’ll be returned home to her. And then that’s it. 

Here come the tears again. It’s weird. This is so final. All of it is coming to a close. Their sweet faces and voices not to be heard on a daily basis anymore. We’ll have to use the 1,000 pictures and videos we have saved to watch them. The hard part will be not being able to hug them. The hard part will be remembering the funny things like when Doc McStuffins comes on and they look at you and smile big, hold their hand out toward you and motion their little hand to come over, and they say, “Monn!” and you realize they’re saying “Come on and dance with me to the opening credits of this show I love so much!” So you get up and you dance around like a toddler and they laugh wildly. That’ll be hard; to not hear, see, or engage in that with them. It’ll be hard to walk into the room that was first theirs and know it’s not theirs anymore. Their room is somewhere else. This room will be someone else’s. A childless parent. 

I could keep going on but it’ll just get more depressing so I’ll stop here. Maybe you can see how we’re straddling both sides of the fence here. The one side where our hearts are broken and devastated by the loss of the twins; the other side where our hearts and broken and devastated by the lack of homes for kids in dire need of love, stability, and comfort. What do we do? What’s the right thing? Is there a wrong thing? I feel like we’re really being tested here, yet there was no way to study, so you don’t know how to pass or how to fail. I guess we can only do our best and wait for the results.

xo,

a

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Early Easter 

Two weeks from now this house will be a lot emptier. There won’t be a trace of the heaps of never ending twin toddler laundry. The blocks, dolls, and push toys cleared from our living room. The make believe appliances and pretend food gifted out to other kids in need. Our sweet girls – gone

Today is not that day. In fact, instead of things disappearing tomorrow it’ll be quite the opposite. People, toys, joy, and laughter will be in abundance here. Early Easter is coming. While I had a Pampered Chef show this morning, my mom and Mitch were here stuffing 200 plastic Easter eggs full of candy and trinkets. Once I got home, Mitch and I ran errands all afternoon for tomorrow’s party. There was one special item to buy – the girls Easter dresses. 

Store after store. Full parking lot after full parking lot. Crowd after crowd. We finally found the perfect dresses. It was a meaningful shopping experience for us. We know that this is our last holiday with the twins. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of “last times” for us right now. We are working hard to make tomorrow great because we know it’s the last party we’ll have them here for. For those of you that know us well, you know we love to party here in the summer. It may be chilly and wet tomorrow but it’s important to us to have these moments with them and they’re happening rain or shine, dammit. 

I only got choked up about 10 times today. As we walked through aisles holding up shirts and laughing at how cute they were. Smiling because the sayings on the shirts made us nod our head in agreement that the shirt was, “so Nay Nay/Sassie!” I hated having flashes of the impending doom of them being gone. I truly wasn’t trying to focus on it. It’s like, here and there it was sprinkled in on top of my happiness sundae. 

All of that being said, we are excited to see our girls in the morning and share the day with those that are attending. For many, it’ll be the last time they see the girls. Don’t feel too bad for yourself because in 12 short days, we won’t see them again either. Their mom has repeatedly said she will never let us see them again. That sentence feels like someone lit a razor blade on fire and then cut through our hearts. It’s like trying to control a bleed that no number of bandages can heal. It sucks and we hope she changes her mind. 

But for now, for today, for tomorrow, they are still ours. We will choose to celebrate. We may cry here and there. We hug them a little tighter. We give them extra kisses. We love them harder by the day. Even if only for 10 months, we were their mama and dada and they knew genuine love, security, and consistency. 

We love them bigger than the sky. 

xo,

a

It’s Off

I got up when I felt like it today. Went to Legendary to grab a few donuts. Used up the last of my Starbucks gift card. Dropped a donut off to my mom and helped her with an app on her phone. Came home to Mitch and sat casually on the recliner while we chatted and started to watch Lockup on Netflix. He decided he was still tired, so he went back to bed. I scrolled through Facebook and texted with Stephanie, who has been home since Thursday but I just realized that TODAY. Felt like a shitty friend. Wondered what else I’ve been missing/not realizing/forgetting lately. Probably a lot. Sigh.

It’s off. This whole morning. I should have gotten up when I had to. Chased the kids around to get them ready for their visit with their dad. Tried six times to get their coats on. Told them to keep their shoes on at least 27 times. Put on Doc McStuffins or Goldie and Bear to let them have a little bit of TV time to distract them from the fact that we were putting their shoes on…yet again. Fed them *only* a banana because that’s all they want and their dad feeds them when they get to their visit. Saw them off to the visit transporter at 8:30 and then promptly began to rush around to spend hours cleaning the house so it could inevitably be a mess again before days end. I should be running around doing errands with urgency so I can be home by about 2:20 when they get home. Or taking a nap and setting my alarm to be awake when they get home.

Instead of doing all of that I had a casual morning. It’s off. For almost a year now we’ve had to establish a routine for the sake of everyone’s sanity. For almost a year now we’ve had to build our life around their six days a week visit schedules. It’s hard to believe we’re just three weeks out from all of that. Hard to believe it has been almost a year. Hard to believe we crammed so many memories in. I remember when they got here. We pulled them out of their car seats and they weren’t even a little bit reluctant to wrap their tiny arms around our necks and hug us. Strangers. A new face. Again. We were an instant family.

Nay Nay had just learned to walk, so she was still pretty wobbly. Sassie was still crawling. We taught one how to stabilize her new ability and taught one how to walk. Taught them how to use a fork and spoon. Taught them how to brush their teeth. Worked with them on their words so their speech could be on track for their age group. Nurtured their interest in the potty. Allowed them to wash themselves in the bath tub. We watched them go from needing us to do everything for them to watching them try to do everything for themselves. Watched them outgrow an outfit that fit them fine the week before. Put their own coats and socks on. Buckle themselves into their booster seats. Use the remote. Open doors. (YIKES!)

When I posted this profound article earlier this morning on my Facebook page, I said that, “Being a foster parent means you’re willing to put everything on the line knowing you could lose it all.” It’s true. And for those of you out there that do this repeatedly, I applaud you. It’s pretty brave of you to know you’re going to use up every ounce of energy and love you have to give only to have it questioned, accused, misunderstood, and to feel unappreciated. Of course, that’s not always the case. I’m sure there are situations where it’s not as volatile, not as much of a tug of war as it has been, and not so jagged at times.

Don’t get me wrong, we get to be thankful for the time we had with our littles. The things we taught them without even realizing we were contributing in some small way to their development and happiness, but they weren’t the only ones learning. They were our teachers, too. They taught us how to parent, how to budget, how to make the most of our time, how to stay up for too many hours (ha!), how to fight for something no matter how slim the chances of success are, how to be a child advocate, how to love others in ways we never understood, how to be adaptable, and it doesn’t stop there. The lessons they teach us every day will continue on after they are gone not here anymore back with their mom go home…well, you know. Having a hard time saying and hearing all of those.

I know you’re reading this and it’s probably hard to know what to say. Some of you have expressed love and comfort so willingly, others have stayed silent, some have sent a text or a Facebook message. Some of you have told me something along the lines of, “I have been following your story…I don’t know what to say…I’m sorry that…” Please don’t apologize. You checking in on us is perfect. Saying you love us and we have been great is perfect. Saying you don’t know what to say is perfect. Saying, “This is what you signed up for…” or something like that is not helpful. This roller coaster of emotions is super hard to navigate. It’s all new to us, just like being parents was new to us. It’s weird when they aren’t here. It’s weird I won’t see them until Monday night. I cried on my way to work Friday morning knowing I wouldn’t see their sweet faces for what seemed like forever. Maybe that sounds silly/stupid/dramatic and maybe it is.

If I have learned one thing in the last few times that they’ve gone on overnight visits with their mom, it’s that I believe having kids gives me a life that I love. It makes me feel like I have a purpose. Before them, we were so casual, and we liked it! Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that we don’t enjoy a quick and rare chance to have a date, watch a movie together at home after the kids go to bed, or sleep in, but it’s different when they’re gone for a long time. And it’s different when you have a family. I want to be the snack mom at their sporting events. I want to join the PTA and put my fundraising skills to use again. I want to be the reason they look back on their childhood and smile. I want to let them be a child during their years of childhood, something in which is robbed of far too many kids. 

How soon after the girls leave can we continue to contribute to the well-being of a child and their family? That remains to be seen, but I know we want to do it. We are scared. I know how much this hurts us right now and I know it’ll hurt even more come “the day” that they…go. I’ll be honest, I really don’t know how our hearts and energy will be replenished after all of this, but I know it’ll happen. When it does, we’ll welcome him, her, them just as we welcomed the twins. We will love them, provide for them, encourage them, and fight for them because if not us, then who?

xo,

a

P.S. On April 2nd, we are participating in a bowling fundraiser for foster children in our area. We are $50 short of our required minimum and we need your help. Please donate any amount here. Thank you!

Sucks.

I am so tired of this emotional roller coaster. This has been the most difficult period of my life and a close second for Mitch’s life. The transition has been hard on the girls and on us. The emotion has been a lot to try to work through and I can feel myself crawling back inside my head to avoid working through my emotions, which was a coping mechanism for me for my entire life and only in the last year or so have I learned how not to do that. Still, I’m tired of crying myself to sleep. I’m tired of it consuming my mind. I’m tired of trying to mentally prepare for a house without them in it. I’m just tired.

When you walk in their room it smells like them. I think it’s a combination of mac n cheese, playdough, and sweet lavender lotion. Eventually, that smell will disappear, just as they have, and it’ll be excruciating to go in there for any reason whatsoever. If I just shut the door and never open it I’ll still know what was once on the other side of it. My counselor told me of a quote she recently read.

When your parents die you become an orphan. When your spouse dies you become a widow. There is no word for when your child dies and there’s no word for when you lose your foster children. People really don’t understand what that must be like for you. To love and fight for something so hard and then to let it go. 

I have tonight to spend with them and that’s about an hour, at best, until they go to bed. I won’t see them again until Monday night. This is going to suck. This last 3 weeks of them being with us will be hard because the visit schedule will be increased as they approach the day of return to their mom. I know everyone says to focus on loving them while we have them, and we do, but let me ask you something, and, please, answer this honestly. Think about your own children. Think about how much you love them. Would it be easy for you to watch them leave and never see them again? I’ve asked this question in a blog before, but it is worth asking again. I’m sure the answer is no, it wouldn’t be easy. “But this is what you signed up for…” WRONG. What I signed up for is to be an advocate, to give love, to share experiences, to teach, to be taught. And, yes, the end result is that they usually go home. I get that. I didn’t realize the heartbreak this would cause. Call me stupid if you want to, but put yourself in our shoes and then tell me if you’d want me to be that inconsiderate and diminishing of your feelings.

My counselor has warned me not to revert to my old behavior, which is to close up, say “I’m fine” and to not cry. I’ve gotta say, that seems like the best thing to do right now. I’m tired of feeling all of this emotion and thinking all of these thoughts. Enough about that…

 

xo,

a

Regrouping

I got a lot of traffic on my blog last night after I went on a rant about their mom, the system, and my feelings. Then I went to bed. Thanks to those of you who just rolled with my bitching. So now let me tell you the rational side of things.

I get it. As best as I can, at least. She knows we’ve done well with her girls. She knows that even her older daughter loves us as she has asked to come stay with us on multiple occasions. She’s threatened. Insecure. Hurting because she did this and another family was so readily available to step in and make right what she wronged. This is her fault and she knows it. 

Still, she deserves a fair chance, which she has been given, in our opinion too many times. We’ve been told and now it has been proven that the state of Washington is heavy on giving parents too many chances. We’ve seen this in other cases as we are part of many foster parenting support groups. It’s frustrating to watch good families that bend over backwards to be good people to kids, the parents, and the system only to get slapped in the face. Repeatedly. 

She’s young. To me, that’s no excuse. Woman up. Take responsibility for your actions. Accept help. And be the person you fake being when you’re standing in front of the judge. I hope that this will all come in (very quick) time, not only for the kids but for her sake too. She’s likely had a tough life and she’s not making it any easier on herself to have a great future. The only person that can change that is her. I hope that bone of confidence grows strong in her spine because she’s going to need it. 

I’ve meant what I’ve said about not being sure I can do this again. Mitch is not feeling the same way, although, we do both agree that a break is needed once the girls go home. To me, the system fails kids. They slip through the cracks. I get that the team of people on the case are overworked. Still, you hear these horror stories about kids in our community being victimized by a broken system. It hits an exposed nerve for me. They’ve already experienced neglect and the one place that they should be giving respite is letting them down. Does anyone else have a problem with this? Meanwhile, the foster parents (some, not all) are working their asses off to help these kids while other people take a back seat. We are often unsupported in a role that requires us to be a perfect parent (which isn’t even a thing!) without being given information and support. And they wonder why they lose good foster families. THIS IS WHY! 

It’s all a shit show, okay? It’s not an ideal situation. It can be really fucked up. We’re happy for their mom. We know she loves them, will keep them clean, fed, and she will protect them. Those are all VERY essential to their well-being. We do wish she wasn’t so nasty with us. We can’t change that. Maybe some day she will. 

xo,

a