Shout out to Shannon at Irish Luck Designs for my great new logo! I love it and I love her! Thank you cousin for helping me on my journey!
Family…I know it is a complicated group of people for everyone involved, right, however adding fostering and adoption of kids with special needs can make the entire group even more complicated! I am blessed that I have family that understands my complicated family. Yeah I don’t see them all very often (I mean years in between and several new children often times), however I know if I reach out they are there for me!
Some are more accepting of my kiddos and their issues, while others will help with verbal support and prayers. I think my understanding that the life we are living is not for everyone and we can’t make people understand the huge meltdowns, rude comments, or dirty looks that is often going on with the kids, is one of the major reasons it works for my family. Most of them can be around for a dinner or sporting event, but to be there day in and day out is challenging (trust me it can shake us to our very core some days)!
We have family members that just don’t get it and struggle with our choice to follow God’s leading. These are the harder relationships to keep growing and the ones that stress me out when we have to get together. In my logical mind I know I can’t control the kids behaviors and even though we have prepared the kids to the best of our ability we know there will still be needs that we can’t meeting in these settings, which means there will be meltdowns and rude behaviors, which will trigger the other family members and then the cycle will start. Repeat, repeat, repeat….
I also know that we will pay for these encounters for days after with our boys, however it gives us the opportunity to talk through how family works and how every member is an individual that can handle different things. We try to focus on the fact that they are still loved by these family members, how they struggle with their ability to show their love and they just don’t understand how to appropriately interact with autism or explosive disorder or the list goes on.
I am always so impressed how our fragile children are able to accept these answers and to still vocalize their love for their family members even when it was rough when they were together! Never underestimate your child’s ability to love!
I know those of us that have answered the call to be foster parents are working with children that have experienced trauma on some level, unfortunately it is often by their loved ones that are meant to protect and love them! It is our challenge to help these kiddos see what family is really meant to be and how to navigate the complexity it comes with. Often times early in their placement we are struggling to not only create new understanding of the concept of family, but we are also having to deal with their bio families continued contact, while the judicial system works. This is always tough, because as the child begins to understand family and what that means they will be faced with the lacking of their bio family! Oh this is a challenging point in their foster journey not only for them but for us as well.
This is the point in which we have to switch paths and start talking about how their family members love them, they just don’t have the skills to show them, to protect them, to be present with them, etc. THIS IS HARD! As a parent who knows how much pain, trauma, neglect, heartache, these people have caused a young child we have to stuff down deep our yearnings to point out how horrible their parents are and instead save some sacred amount of love for their parents to keep them from struggling in the future when they are the moms and dads that are making little mistakes as they learn to parent!
Know you are not alone on this journey and that I am always willing to answer questions, give advice, and just listen when you need to pour out the hurt and frustration that comes with family interactions.