After a few days of trying to decide if I should blog about this….I decided to. After all, this blog is supposed to be about our journey with foster parenting. Not just all the glowing, wonderful days we have…
This was one of the bad days:
After a three hour visitation (to see big boy’s family), we came back to our house. He was hurting to have to leave them. Hurting to have to get back in a car and come to our house for yet another week.
I wonder if in his heart he comes to visitation deeply hoping, “Maybe I will get to go home today.”
He cried for several minutes angrily on the drive home. I could hear the anger in his cry. It was a cry border-lining yelling/screaming. I could hear how helpless he felt…He had no control.
And I drove, fighting my tears, praying in my heart for God to come through once again for this precious boy.
I then delved into my training. We were taught to start talking about visitation – even if the children are upset. It is the best way to help them process the pain and hurt they are feeling. If the moment leaves when they are in the center of it, they learn to play hard, think hard, sleep – anything to escape their great pain. Though talking doesn’t totally solve their pain, it does help to process things verbally.
We talked about it as much as we could. It is hard for a four year old to adequately express everything running deep in his veins… One thing he made very clear in his deep, authoritative voice: “I wanna go home.”
After a long night of him feeling his pain and acting out toward me (because remember – I am the one who drives him away from his family), I asked him to eat a bite of his food. He looked at me angrily and said, “You’re NOT my mom.”
I don’t know why I let it get to me. After all, it is HIM who had the rough day. I still get to sleep in my bed, drink my coffee (very important), and live with the husband I love. HE on the other hand cannot live “in his own skin”… Even though we love him like our own, give him plenty of food, clothing, and shelter – there is nothing that will ever replace the universe of his home… And, my goodness, nothing should.
However, all reasoning aside, his statement hit my heart. I never thought I was his mom, but I have been mothering him, even if it is called “foster mothering”. We have grown to love him very much. I tell him every day, pointing to my heart, “See, my heart is filling up with love for you more and more each day.”
But, I had a hard time filtering his words through his day…. Probably because his words approached the very center of what I want to provide to him. I want to provide mothering moments even if I am not his mom.
Now, a few days later, the words have softened in my memory…. He no longer thinks of me as the person who puts him in my car and takes him away from his family (I am convinced this is how he understands it), and has now commenced to hugging, singing, and sharing communication with me.
And I have certainly passed taking those words to heart. I shouldn’t have in the first place. But what can I say? I am definitely going to mess up on this journey… And I have learned my lesson: Always remember to filter a child’s words through his/her pain/day. Hmmmmm…I am pretty sure that applies to most of us grownups too!