Oh, the irony.
How is it that a post with the word "Celebrating" and "Return-to-Monitor" qualifies as Tuesday's Tears? Makes perfect sense to mie as the author of the post but nonetheless objectively I can see the weirdness. Let me unravel my thoughts.
Return-to-monitor. #7 & #8 are scheduled to go home at the end of next week. I don't think this will be good for them overall. #8 has finally bonded to mie - I don't think she's really bonded to anyone else except her brother in her life - and I'm going to be "leaving her". That's painful. I'm devastatingly worried about #7. I'm not comfortable that biomom & stepdad are going to be permanently able to care for him, especially what I know now about the case and frankly, #7. I am trying to be ignorant by choice about how this could all turn out and hope that God will be permanently attached to his heart and be his physical and spiritual savior. That he will be redeemed from whatever damage has been caused to him in this foster care situation and that I will be ok with the fact that I won't have control over his future.
Celebrating. So we're choosing to celebrate return-to-monitor. The goal for foster care is to protect kids and secondarily to reunite families if that is the best option. It has always been the goal for these kiddos to be reunified with their parents. Always. They've been in care nearly a year and they've always had a stated goal of reunification. So now, here we are. They get to go home. We're choosing to celebrate the reunification of this family. Rejoice.
All that aside, and more important today are that we are celebrating the return-to-monitor for very selfish reasons. We are confident that there will be lasting damage and that without intentional intervention with skilled parenting and therapists there will be little chance for wholeness and redemption in the phsyical realm. That left to the path they are on, going home to individuals who may or may not get really stressed out to the point of wanting death due to the responsibilities of parenting, struggling with attachment and emotional and behavioral challenges - all of it seems to be leading to disaster. But parents want them home and they, #7 at least, want to go home, at least some of the time, usually when he's in trouble for doing something crazy he shouldn't have been doing.
So why do we celebrate then? Why are we super excited and waiting for next weekend to come?
Because we are at our limit with this case. Let mie say this - if God decides for some reason that he wants them to stay we know He will provide a way and some relief. But at this point we are done. D - O - N - E. We are frustrated and stressed and irritated. We can't stand certain behaviors. These behaviors are constant and take a lot of parenting effort. They make us tired. They make us cranky.
Let mie also point out that we have good coping mechanisms and stress-relief techniques. We have a good support system. When I say we're at our limit, that doesn't mean we don't show our kids love or that they are in any kind of danger as they could be in homes where parents get stressed. We know how to handle it, we just don't want to handle it anymore. We love the kiddos in our home and continue to show them their value and worth as children of God. Internally though, shared between my husband and I, we just don't like certain aspects of parenting certain children right now.
Practically, this is how that works out - in a conversation this morning #7 began to throw a fit and in his own unique combo of screaming and whining said "But I don't WANT to go to live with them. I SAID I want to visit them". I then reminded him, before I shut the door that he had fun at her house at the last visit and that he said he wanted to go live there. Then I said he would be going to live with her soon. Then the door closed to the car. In the half-second between the door closing and opening my own car door I closed my eyes and said to myself "Thank God.".
I find myself thinking these types of things more frequently now. On my way to work after dropping off the kids I wanted to scream out "I can't WAIT until next weekend!!!". Though these things aren't inherently bad, they are just things I don't want to be thinking.
And that is where Tuesday's Tears come in - I am sad that we are so excited for this return-to-monitor to happen. I'm sad that I feel we're "giving up" on this kiddo. We're not. We've done a great job parenting so far and it isn't our choice that he's going home. But we're not sad about him going home. We can't wait. And that makes me sad.
Is it really ok to be sad because you're not sad? Hmmm...
Thankfully, as I said, we've got a good support system and by the end of the day I'll be feeling relief again and we'll have a good day with #7 & #8 and he'll go to bed with a smile and so will I. And all will be well with the world for the night.