I realize that I chose this. I am the one that married a man with a child, and together we adopted three more older children from foster care. I know from all the adoption classes, and listening to parents, this was not an easy job yet we signed up anyway. I knew there would be good days, hard days and sometimes impossible days. Lately, it's been bordering on the latter. I tell myself, "I am a life coach. I specialize in this stuff. I work with people to change the mindset and turn the negative into the positive." Yet, I still struggle.
We are preparing for a move. Is this what is triggering the acting out with one of the children? My experience tells me yes and that love, patience and reassurance will eventually move us all through it. But escalation to violence against one another as what happened today? Now that has gone too far. What gives him the right to think it's okay to hit his sibling with fists and have to be physically pulled off each other?
Now before we go in to the "therapy" angle--been there, done that, multiple times. These are children that have been in the system since they were 4 years old, 15 months, and 3 months, respectively. They grew up in the system and therapy is paramount in all foster childrens lives. They know the angles, the story line and the avoidance. Each and every therapist tells us we are the ones doing the work. Why keep them in therapy when they don't want to be helped? "You can lead the horse to water but you can't make them drink," is the old adage. And why pay someone else when we are doing the work?
I fantasize about our former life--the childfree one--where Ridge and I travel, lay on the beach and the biggest worry that night is if we want seafood or steak. I also remember feeling that there had to be more than this. More than just the materialistic. I had such a drive to give back, to contribute, to make a difference. No matter how great the memories, or the fantasy, I remember that empty feeling that having a family, and a purpose outside myself/ourselves, fulfilled.
Anyway, I guess I just needed a sounding board--a way to release that doesn't involve calling my husband or girlfriends and having a meltdown myself. We are committed to these children and to the family we are creating. There are days that I dream of their 18th birthday and/or them running off to join their birth families. But I know when that time comes, it will be painful.
Parenting is a thankless job. What do other parent's do to keep their sanity and take care of themselves?