I have always scoffed at those parents who are counting down the days until their children go back to school in the fall. This is not the first time God has used His plans to humble me in my pride and judgment of others! I am constantly amazed at how much wisdom comes with age…and grateful for the growth even though it’s usually hard.
I haven’t written much about our newest fostering experience because we’ve been busy…purposely going places and planning activities every morning to keep us from getting on each others’ nerves. And I also haven’t written much because I don’t really know how to explain this part of the fostering journey.
Our kids’ parental services were terminated last month, and a hearing has been set for November to terminate their parental rights. The county is looking into the paternal grandparents for permanent custody, but I’m assuming they were considered at the beginning of their two years in foster care, and there are big red flags at their house so we’re all guessing they won’t finish/pass the home study. So it could be that these kiddos will be with us forever.
I notice that most blogs I read don’t talk much about their older adoption kids’ behaviors very much. It’s a difficult topic, because you don’t want to write something negative that they will be able to read someday down the road. All of our kids, biological or not, cause us lots of trouble. Kids are a pain. But they’re also a joy. And older adoption kids are a pain and a joy, too. The beginning of the journey is always the hardest part. In the case of older child adoption, you’re teaching routines and rules and refining behaviors that have been ingrained for many years in their family culture. Adopting kids from a different culture adds to the strain of unifying a family of six different people. I consider our kids to be from a different culture not because they are a different nationality, which they are, and not because their skin is a different color, which it is, but because their family culture has been one of chaos and unpredictability, lacking respect for others, one’s body, and one’s future. And these kids love their family, of course!! We need to respect their innate need to love their family while completely going against all that their family culture stands for. It’s tricky.
I had guessed it would take six months for the family to feel “normal” again, and I’m wondering now if it might be a little bit longer. I don’t know. Things in the sibling rivalry department have settled down considerably, but there is a long way to go. The new kiddos’ behaviors have improved by light years, but there is a long way to go. Our attachments between each of the six members of the family who live here now have a long way to go, too. It’s difficult most days, but there are days when it’s not difficult and I see the light at the end of this tunnel.
I’m so thankful for all of the friends and family who join us on our outings, entertain our kids so Greg and I can get away for an evening, and generally do their best to love on the new kids right along with the old. I’m also thankful for daily “rest time,” dollar movies at the local theater, and the fostering stipend that has been used to sponsor various camps and activities I would have usually forgone! I wasn’t sure I’d make it through this summer…God does provide what we need when we need it, and not a moment before.