There are many challenges that a fostercarer has to contend with that are present in regular parenting, they are just possibly 150% worse in fostering, at least that’s how it sometimes feels.
You have a child move into your home, incredibly scary for that child if we adults want to be honest it’s scary for us too. Will we be ok, can we meet this child’s needs, can we help this child or will we be added to the list of failures in the child’s life? We act tough as adults, we have to society demands that we look like we have it all together. We are however human, we have our own set of fears, ideals, beliefs, requirements and standards and of course every human has that biggest fear of all. The fear of FAILURE.
After a few months of walking circles around each other the real jousting begins. The child has been let down so many times already why should they trust you? Trust though is a serious foundation for a successful adult life. Without trust they won’t succeed at employment or at their own loving relationship when the time comes, they will struggle with the simplest of friendships at school or even at responding to their teacher. I have blabbed in many posts about trust, it’s such a huge issue for me and it’s something that was very absent from my childhood.
I foster 3 children who moved 4 times before they came to live with me. They were at that time aged just 5, 4 and 3 years old. Their tears had not been met with a Mother’s love, their early need for those precious cuddles was just not met.
So young and yet already what we call ‘street wise’. Showing signs of being seasoned foster kids. Already easily able to manipulate adults and leave a path of jaws hanging on the ground on how easily they were able to walk all over everyone. Deeper down though they were sad, lonely, scared children.
However, don’t be fooled and don’t let down your guard!
4 years later the battles are still raging. Daily events that are exhausting, sometimes little tiny issues and other times huge issues. I have to learn what mountains to climb and fight on, when to die in a battle, when to win or when to scoop them out of the battle for both of our sakes. It’s completely exhausting on a moment by moment basis. It’s what we do though. No different to regular mum’s who go back for more babies after their first.Even if that baby was a screaming, reflux difficult baby.
It doesn’t make me feel any better about the rants that I have or the need to yell and scream just to get them to school some mornings. The school knows there is nothing I can do if a child merely tells me where to go and refuses to move. I’m not permitted neither would I risk injury in physically forcing the child to the bus, injury either to them or to myself! So far that point hasn’t arrived so fingers crossed it never will. An hour late for school is as bad as it’s gotten here and that was via roadside tantrum.
Little Miss PJgirl keeps us on our toes. Sugar wouldn’t melt in her mouth however she’s been the worse hurt and has a lot of healing to do. Day by day she tests our commitment to her and all I can do is hope that she’s getting it all out of her system before she hits the teen years because watch out if we don’t. When I mentioned sometimes little things but extremely annoying things here is one such incident.
One of my previous posts (discover-and-share) I showed you an amazing blog site with handy hints and that included a specific place for storing school bags. I promptly and perhaps a little hyperactively rushed out to Bunnings and by afternoon had created that space. All the kids were and are responding well to it until one day was particularly difficult with Miss PJ girl. After she was finally in bed and I was wiping my brow I noticed the above.
She was especially told BAG ON HOOK and SHOES UNDERNEATH on SHELF. Miss PJ girl got at me by reversing the order. It was just a small straw on this Mum’s back but it joined the bale she had already put there.
During these times it’s good for me to try to remember where our journey began. Often I’ll grab a coffee and just cruise through photos of 4 years ago. When they were so small, so cute, so volatile and I was so suckered in by their cute chubby faces at the front door. Then I am reminded at how far we have come, how we can now leave them with babysitters who previously refused to come to our home! How we can now take them into public settings when previously we could not. Reflection, contemplation and quiet tears of thankfulness fill me with the strength to sleep well and wake up to a new day of challenges and victories.
Parenting is hard work no matter what style of parent you are, single, married, stay-at-home,working, shared care, adoptive, fostering or special needs. Don’t you think so?