This came in from the agency of Maple Star: I know from experience that the feelings that can happen when a child transitions from your home can be bittersweet and conflicting. I think these feelings can be magnified when the child had hard behaviors to manage. It is normal to feel relieved about the transition and then guilty about feeling relieved. Let me know if you want to get together and process any feelings that you might be having."
And then I spilled some more of my own story: I am much more of a writer/reflector than a talker. When I knew I would need to make the decision to have our extra move, yes, I was in conflict. It takes a lot of strength to say, "I'm not strong enough right now" and a lot of internal searching to be ok with that.
I turned to blog searching because I find so much strength and comfort in words and found a jewel. You should totally check it out - called droppinganchorsblog.com I read the whole blog like a book, reading it all over the course of a week - not knowing what I was looking for until page 8 and my eyes filled up and my heart whispered "me too"
I'll copy and paste the entry that made it clear to my heart that I was doing the right thing for all of us and maybe you can use it sometime to help someone else who is going through this process and otherwise wouldn't find these wonderful words. I think what made this entry extra powerful is because I had read so many success stories. So many stories that ended with hard work and love and warm fuzzies. And while I wouldn't call this a failure - I'm not really sure what it is. If success would be holding onto a child until a return is made - then what is the case called where it's just too big for your current energy level and you have to let it go to someone else? I feel at ease because I put my all into that little girl and she had made big strides in the year and nearly a half that we've had her in our home, but difficult behavior is difficult behavior. There's no explaining or excusing that. It just is. She was hard without my temperament being altered by pregnancy and near impossible once my tolerance level started to drop.
C's family was split, 4 siblings, between three foster homes. We were all taking the foundation classes together when her case came up and none of us could take all 4. So the school-aged one (5) went to Kellie, the pre-school one (4) went to us, and the set of twins that were only 3 went to Shannon. It was absolutely the best to have all three of us on one case and we kept each other updated, could compare notes and with three parents for those four kids - it really did work out the best way possible for all of them as they all turned out more high-needs than anyone could have suspected from the start. And it was good for us - a made support group that forced us into each other's lives. We have had a running group text message for the past year and a half and while our schedules are too busy for us to get together in person very often - we check in several times a week with each other.
And the reply that came that gave me the strength, the courage, the peace of mind. The encouragement that yes, this fostering stuff can still be for us, even if no, C has worn me out long and hard. And that is just ok:
That blog post was beautiful! What she wrote resonated with me very strongly! I had a youth in my care for a year and a half who was extremely violent towards me multiple times a day. He had extreme attachment issues and I struggled with making the decision to end the placement. The feeling that I was going to fail him, cause him more damage were intense. I wanted to exhaust every option. I didn’t want to quit on a bad day so I kept putting one foot in front of the other. Kept making that choice to struggle through the challenges. You know what? There were not any good days anymore. Every day was a battle. Every day was hard for this sweet little boy and myself. We loved each other but I was a huge trigger for him at this point in his healing. Once he moved out and I had a chance to process through my feelings (and boy did I have a lot to go through!) I realized that this was the right decision for everyone involved. Our family had brought him to this place in his healing and our relationship had to transition. It wasn’t the end of the relationship. It wasn’t a failed relationship. It just transitioned. It is a beautiful thing when people allow relationships to transition instead of forcing them to stay the same when it isn’t healthy anymore. You were able to recognize that and plan a mindful transition. That is fantastic!
That little boy who left my home went to a family with no other children in the home and he FLOURISHED. Last I heard they were working on his adoption. Everyone on his team credits his current success for the foundation he got while in my care. Hearing that helped with the guilt and pain I still had a few years after saying I couldn’t do it anymore. You offered this girl a strong foundation. You helped her heal to this point and that is so huge and beneficial. She is ready for her next step now! What a beautiful thing! Her chapter with you was not a failure at all because it did not end with her returning home. Her chapter with you was a success because you realized that the current situation was not beneficial to anyone involved.
Through the struggles we have with the children in our care we learn more about who we are as people. We learn what behaviors, temperaments, diagnosis’, etc that we are comfortable handling. Through the struggles you learn the questions to ask when a child is referred to your home. You know when to say “no” to a referral because you know that you have a hard time dealing with bedtime issues or bedwetting or whatever. This helps set you and your next placement up for success.
I love that you and the other foster families had a strong bond and stayed connected with group texts. That was amazing of all of you! I hope that more foster families start doing things like that. It helps when kids in our care see everyone as a united front working for their best interests. It helps alleviate the anxiety siblings can have when separated from each other.
Thank you for passing on the blog. I am looking forward to checking it out!
Please let me know if there is anything else that I can help you with.