63. On the “other side”

We have always extended grace to the parents of our kiddos. We knew it was hard to have all your interactions supervised, we just didn’t know how hard that truly was. We do now.

I sat in a strange chair in a strange room with one sided glass on the wall and a video camera in the corner. Act naturally, I though. You have nothing to worry about. This is routine and “they” just want to see a baseline of how you and your kiddo interact so they can gauge progress of the program. Easier said than done as I anxiously steal a glance at that camera in the corner. To be blissfully unaware as the kiddo. To not know what is on the line. To not have your heart beating so loudly that people 3 buildings away can hear it. I will never forget that feeling, the smell of that room, or the reason we were sitting at that table.

It’s crazy to think that we have found ourselves in the position of people that have their visits and phone calls supervised for the time being. Let me tell you, there is nothing in this world that is more uncomfortable. No other experience could have prepared us for the anxiety that comes with answering the phone knowing that someone is writing everything down to analyze your relationship. Nothing could have prepared us for the deep anxiety of participating in an attachment assessment. To know that there is a complete stranger on the other side of one way glass that is watching and recording you when you are supposed to be interacting naturally with your kiddo.

We have been huge advocates for extending grace and understanding to kiddo’s parents in the past; it is so much more than that now. I hope, for your sake, that you never know the discomfort of this feeling.

That being said, this is where we are. This is where situations brought us and we will adapt and overcome (as a dear friend says). We will learn to function in this new normal and we will heal together, as a family.

So I ask you… the next time that you are supervising a visit or phone call and you feel anxiety or wanting to be done from the other side… please extend grace and put yourself in their shoes. How would it feel to know you love your kiddos with all your heart and it is someone else’s role to judge that? Only then can we come together in the triangle to heal all around for the kiddos in our care.

Thank you for coming along on this journey with us and allowing us to share our stories.

62. Where we went

Good evening, family, friends, and readers. We disappeared. We folded into ourselves and our home due to stress and trauma taking over. I ended up having to take a break from work due to stress and our kiddos struggles were real. That is where we are. Foster care isn’t always sunshine and roses; in fact, it isn’t most days. Many days trauma jumps up and bites you in your places you were not paying attention to only to have you settle that down and have it jump up in a different place. You are not alone. We are not alone. Find your group. I am starting a support group in my local area. If there isn’t one where you are, start one! Drive to find one. Talk to your friends and family. If there isn’t a group for them, invite them to come to the greater Milwaukee area to my group for friends and family of foster parents.

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56. Should we require appreciation from our kiddos?

Mama S here. I have seen an article being widely spread that speaks about how foster children shouldn’t be required to be grateful for everything the foster family does for them. That the foster family signs up for caring for kiddos from hard places and that they shouldn’t expect their foster kids to appreciate what they do for them. I’ve been sitting with that for a bit and I have to say that, while I partially agree, I also strongly disagree.Continue reading

17. Saying Goodbye

Dear V,

Know that you were fought for. The first home you came into when you left your parent’s home loved you dearly. We enlisted the help of advocates, reached out to supervisor’s supervisors, we sent so many emails, and in the end it wasn’t enough. You were made to leave our home. When you left, you took the biggest pieces of our hearts we had. Your smile brightened our days and your tears tugged at our heart strings. We celebrated the smallest of achievements and adjusted our lives to bend to meet your needs and for your well-being. Was it hard? Yes. You are worth it. You are worth every tear, every moment of angst we experienced when trying to keep you, the biggest heartbreak we have ever experienced. You are worth it all. Don’t forget to celebrate the little things with your big smile and clapping. The world is hard and you deserve to celebrate those wins. We will miss you every day and think of you often. We are thankful for what you have brought into our lives and the love you were also so willing to give.

Never forget you deserve the world and that you were fought for.

All the love in the world,

Mama S

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvpG2y2-51s%5D

14. Why does he keep hitting himself?

“Why are you hitting yourself?” I’ve found myself asking this question out loud and following it up with an empathetic look and a “It’s OK if you are having big feelings. Big hugs to help you feel better.”  We have had the privilege/ sadness to see first hand what childhood trauma does to developing brains. It changes these kiddos in big ways that are hard to understand. I have found myself reading everything I can get my hands on to help me understand what is happening to this little man we have in our care. I was reading on the www.ntscm.org page and this quote explained things clearly:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zf741IzcHYs%5D
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