I’m up early today, 4:30ish AM to be exact. It’s been a long time since I’ve started my day so early. I used to rise at crazy hours, even for a farmer, 2:30 and 3:00…
I have a lot on my mind. Yesterday I ran about collecting curriculum for the boys from their co-op homeschool, packets from Little Miss’s school and spend the evening filling out more papers, looking through books, watching orientation videos, and beginning the reading process with Sam, since he is beyond eager to learn everything and anything.
Today will be all about preparing for the school year, or at least the first half of it. I need to go through clothing and organize it all, wash backpacks, and I’ll be setting up a big shelf here in the kitchen with school books, tools, library books, and supplies. Keeping everything in one place and organized is key.
This year Arjan will be in 3rd grade and needs to focus a bit more on math and writing structure, sciences, and literature, history…if he could he would study dinosaurs ad nauseaum, but it’s time for other things. I let him choose what he’s passionate about in each subject and it’s a little free range/Finland style/unschooling. But there needs to be some foundation.
Sam is so, so eager and excited to learn and I am looking forward to working with him. He had me order all sorts of curriculum last night. We were doing another relaxed year of kindergarten (Finland style/Waldorf) but he is ready and so I’m going with it.
In the mornings I’ll take Little Miss to Head Start and then spend the 3 hours with the boys and their schoolwork at home. Two days a week they will go to some classes. The weeks will be very busy for all of us.
I’ve restarted the YouTube channel but I’m not super clear on what I have to offer this new channel. I don’t want it to be like the old channel. I want it to be clear, inspiring, spiritually expressive, motivational with the homekeeping and economizing, and explorative of family and home life.
I’ve made four videos already to begin, but I have found that sharing my inner explorations is backfiring on me. I can not and will not get personal anymore because it sets me up for criticism and advice from others that I have no desire for. So I share vaguely, because I DO want to talk about finding one’s boundaries and honoring our truths, however, some have made assumptions and begun to give marital advice or discuss my decision to foster. This is very annoying. One person says the changes in me over the past two months is not good and they think it is the fostering, they see sadness in my eyes (I’m thinking the calmness in my eyes is foreign to most). Another told a lengthy story of a marriage about to fall apart and the corny tale of healing. Another woman keeps pestering me about getting a mammogram.
Part of me is charmed by these caring and fussing souls, part of me feels that returning was a mistake. I didn’t return for advice and assumptions. My marriage is fine and fostering is work but we have learned and grown from the experience.
If anything I’ve calmed down quite a bit from this frenetic, neurotic spree to be perfect and run my house like a military camp. When we first started fostering I tried to do it all; my channel, blog, writing, baking, cooking, super clean house, organized everything, routines, schedules, raise the kids, raise the dogs…it was crazy behavior and I said, “No, it’s all good, I’m just staying on top of things.” As I wiped my brow and panted a bit.
At first I was thrilled to have a little girl in the house and thought it all fun and games and she was so adorable. Well, that wore off fast. It became hell for 5 weeks until I set boundaries and routines and became firm about things. She is thriving now and behaves well, eats all her veggies and goes to bed after a couple books. We are dialed in, as they say. But the fantasy is gone.
Now I will get honest about this subject because I keep getting advice. If anyone would like to criticize I will just delete it. I’m not into the negative criticism which comes mostly from those that would never reach out and help or foster anyone or thing.
Fostering this child is not that difficult. She is eager to learn and behave. She is cheerful and loves to help out. She loves to cook and eat, help me fold laundry and tidy. She is quite fun.
She also has some issues as any child in her position would. There is a thing such as Indiscriminate Attachment Disorder. She immediately attaches to anyone with a pulse. It is common in children that have been emotionally or physically, even intellectually neglected. She has a hunger for attention that may or may not ever be filled. She is also afraid of being left or abandoned. She is my shadow and even simple acts of going to the pantry has her up out of her chair and searching for me to make sure I don’t escape to somewhere. When people are over I often have to pry her off of them and I’m trying to teach her about “the bubble”.
This ain’t so bad. So she’s attached and follows me about. We read, we talk, we cook, we eat. But sometimes it is trying on the nerves.
What sucks about fostering is having to deal with the parents. The disappointments for the child because they can’t pull their s^#t together. Then there is the regressive behavior after visits. She thrives and then declines a bit after seeing the parent. And the state, the county, the welfare system, and the foster agency all live with us and are now family. My phone rings constantly, my schedule is packed, I’m always filling out forms…and it’s all for one little person.
My family and our life is on the back burner.
Fostering takes a certain type of person and family. It is a career. It pays $1.37 an hour and takes up your days and sometimes nights. It has it’s rewards, honor in serving a child or teen, and is worth it in the end, but it is a full time job. You work for the county…or state, I still don’t know which. You will have no life outside this world once you enter it. I can’t imagine having 3 or more foster children.
We started out wanting to adopt. That was 3 years ago but it took so long to process our license due to a mistake on the agencies side, that we only started now. 3 years ago I was still in my 40’s and felt differently. I wanted more children and babies. Today I’m 50, starting the ‘change’ and I don’t know that I can deal with more children and babies.
I think I could take on this little one. She’s almost 4. I think to myself, “I’ll just keep doing yoga and stay young.” But there is another baby on the way. Yes, her parent is very pregnant and in 3 months another bundle is coming and we are not up for the challenge. I spent the wee hours mulling this over. I thought of schedules, getting them all off to school, late nights with an infant…
Not to mention we would have to buy a different vehicle. We are a 5 seater and need a 6 seater car. We were prepared for one extra child. Not two, but the system would like to keep the siblings together and I agree with that.
So, what does this all mean? It means we were the foster family here to support a reunification of mother and child (no matter how long that took), but that may not happen and now there is another child on the way. It means that we have now become simply the transitional home while a permanent home that has the desire and means to adopt these two children is found. It means that our journey is about over.
I still go back and forth. I like having a third child. Four will send me over the edge.
I will be honest in that this is the first and last time. I find the whole experience to be educational but toxic. It is depressing. The energy of it, the reality of it. The fact some parents are addicts and have children and then a whole community winds up raising the children, because they can’t overcome their addiction. Many bleeding hearts feel compassion. After being involved this short time, I do not. I’m disgusted.
So, yes, I’ve suffered anxiety, stress, stomach issues, tight chest, all sorts of stuff while dealing with this work. And, once again, it wasn’t the child so much as the whole situation and the energy of it. That is what people won’t talk about. They say, “it’s so hard” or “it almost ruined our marriage.” or “it aged me so much”.
Well, it’s toxic. Plain and simple. The child or children bring with them all that energy from their homes and previous life. The vibration fills your home and you have this heavy gloom that settles in. Everything about the work is about hard issues; addiction, failure, neglect, abuse, depression, mental disease. That is the vibration you work with.
Some people love this work and can be detached and clear. They just get in there and do it. I wish I was like that and I’m learning to be that way to a point. That is the great teachings of this experience. To serve without needing a certain outcome or expecting results.
This situation was brought to me…or rather I pulled it into my experience to learn something and change. But it was a quick lesson and let us see where it goes and when it ends.
It’s hard to make these sorts of decisions. I want to help everyone and heal the world. I have the answers and solutions (so we all think). We think the system is broken and things are a mess. But there is the belief that all this pain and imperfection is here to mold us, heal us, change us for the better. That we all have karma to work out, destinies to fulfill.
At this point, I’m not clear on what my purpose is. I’m being honest with myself and others because when I am not I have anxiety these days. I have intense physical issues when I ignore my inner guidance. Only after being clear and stating my intent does the physical malady go away.
If we are going to live our best lives we should try all sorts of things that call to us. However, it doesn’t mean it has to be a life long commitment. Some experiences are very short term but teach us a lot. Some experiences are life long.
Today I’m learning to set clear boundaries and be very honest in situations where I struggle with guilt. But as I consider my family and my personal health, I find being honest gets easier. I have also learned that we usually aren’t the heroine of the story and there is always someone smarter, better, more equipped and capable to handle what you think you must.
Little Miss and her soon to be sibling already have a much better suited home for them. A younger couple is out there right now wanting more young children and praying for her and the baby to come into their lives. I would be silly to think that we must keep her because we are the only ones who can provide a good home. That is ego and a hero complex. But the inner guidance says that isn’t so. We are a good family but only for now. We were here to help her on part of this healing journey and get her in a good place so it’s easier for the real family to step in and take over.
The Infinite Intelligence or God force knows what it’s doing. Not us. We are here to serve only for a time and then we go onto other learning experiences.