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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Expect Nothing

In foster/adopt situations, you can never be sure of what is going to happen. No two cases are the same, and I seem to be learning that lesson in spades as of late! For example, letters from the biological mothers of my children (don't mind the grammar)-

Possibility #1:

Dear Amy,

Thank you so much for sending me pictures of the kids for Christmas. It is a very hard time especially for me because that was some of the best memories I had with the kids. I am sending them each a card for Wal-Mart to buy whatever they would like if you say OK.

I was upset to hear that _____ was having trouble with eating again, so I have sent a letter for her...

The letter said, "I know you are angry, and you have every right to be. But please don't hurt yourself or your parents as it is not either of yours faults. It was my fault. I couldn't get out of the drugs and away from dangerous men and that was not your fault or Amy's fault or Gary's fault. They love you and can give you all the things I can't and I want you to be happy. Don't hurt yourself or them because of my stupid mistakes..."

It was her humble attitude toward the whole thing that allowed me to let her have some of the contact that we did. She was not trying to blame anyone else and she did not judge us at all. The problem is that I took that attitude and thought it could apply to every parent we ever encountered. I QUICKLY learned better...

Possibility #2:

To Amy,

I know you aren't happy about this letter and you are upset that I won't leave you alone. But I cannot accept that the kids will never know me and I am determined to be part of their lives. Don't tell the caseworker or she might move the kids again, but I want them to know that I love them and we will be together some day. As their caregiver you have the power to tell them only the best things about me and I expect you to do that. Take out that scrapbook often and tell them who their mother is. Tell them I loved them more than anything and that I never wanted them to be taken away. I know you think of me only as a drug addict and that I am getting what I deserve or finally hitting bottom or whatever the guidelines say, but at least I love my kids and gave them attention. You have what, eight other kids now? How can you possibly have enough love for all those kids?..."

Where do I start with my feelings on this? I guess first is actually pity that she is still so blinded that she sees the loss of her kids as my fault and has to judge me to make herself feel better. Then the refusal to see me as their mother now, but rather as their caregiver. Well, if I were really their mother then she couldn't give me orders on what to do and how to do it so that they know they were taken from her against her will and she is waiting for the day they can be reunited. And since I realized the rules cannot be the same for everyone and did not give her any contact with the kids, she seems to be almost threatening me. Plus, who starts a letter with TO? But she seems to have a little bit of trust in me to not tell the caseworkers that she is harassing me (BTW, the kids are now legally adopted and the county has no say in what happens to them, even if we wanted them to go after her for us!). Some people are so untrusting that they will throw everything away...

Possibility #3:

The little guy we had for a short time went home right before Christmas. I asked his mom on the day we sent him home for her address as we had gone and gotten portraits of him at Wal-Mart as we do with all foster kids and I wanted to be able to send them to her when they were done. She wrote down an address, and when the pictures came I put them in pretty frames and wrapped them in paper with tags that said To:Mom From: _______ and shipped them Priority mail (which is not cheap) and they were in my mailbox a week later stamped "Return to sender: No such address".

And there are more. Every parent has been different and their reactions have even varied along the way. I was completely shocked to receive a Mother's Day card from a biological mom who had been trying for weeks to get me in trouble for something, anything. A dad who was trying to get custody after mom lost the baby sent me flowers, a cake, and several cards. He was truly thankful. He was the exception, though.

So, after getting the mail today and finding gem #2, my day is shot. It is hard to understand unless you have been there, but the emotional toll is very physically manifested. I feel like I have the flu: tired, achy, cold, weepy (ok, that part might not be like flu) and I am once again on the 'move out of state' bandwagon. Is it worth it? Heck yeah! I wouldn't have 6 of my kids had I not been willing to take the baggage that can sometimes come with it. But I still keep wondering when the baggage will go away and we can just be 'normal'.

1 comment:

laurie said...

God bless you, Amy. "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me and whoever receives me receives not me but him who sent me." God is not only sovereign, He sees your suffering as you desire to do His will. That will not return void.