There was a time when I worked out of the home and I looked forward to the weekends. That time has passed. At this point in my life, every day blends into the next. In fact, rather than have relaxing weekends, they are now filled with stress as this is usually the time that we visit Donald. I have zero poker face. From the time I wake up on visit days, I feel physically sick and am completely grouchy. I find myself being short with Mickey and the kids and snapping at them when I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t seem to control it. The feelings of fear are so deep rooted in me that they overwhelm me.
Yesterday, we headed to see Donald for an event at his RTC. I was filled with dread the entire way. The hour drive gave me plenty of time to think about the situation. In my mind, I compared this process to that of giving birth. During labor, the pain is no intense you swear will never do it again. As time goes on, the memory of the intense pain fades allowing you to once again become pregnant knowing you will survive birth. The ends justifies the means. My mother told me before I gave birth to my first child that if she could do it for me, she would. This gave me so much peace because I knew that if she was willing to endure the pain for me that it must be “survivable”.
I hope hoped that the “pain” of those 13 days with Donald in our care would fade. I hoped that I would begin to see him for the hurt child that he is and begin to feel ready to once again parent him. I hoped that we would see glimpses of improvement. That hasn’t happened. I feel just as raw and terrified today as the day he left more than 3 months ago. In many ways, I feel worse. I feel guilty for not loving him. I feel sad that we were not enough. I feel angry that the state believes that his sister should be doomed to live her life by his side in her own hell and fear. I feel frustrated that no one has been able to help him. I feel alone in this place of potential “disruption”… a place that no family ever wants to find themselves.
I am struggling right now. There is a part of me that wants to give it more time, to let the treatment center do their job to prepare him to live in a family..to let nature take its course and see where things go. But there is another part of me (the more sensible one?) that says he has been in foster care for nearly 8 years, he has been in therapy that entire time, he has done 2 long terms stays at a psychiatric facility, he has been in residential care 3 of those 8 years and he is no closer to being ready to live safely in a family than he was in the past 13 placements… the past 13 families that found themselves living in fear… the past 13 families that weren’t enough. Do I throw in the towel? Do I encourage the team to look at the concurrent plan for him and consider other families knowing that this may end in disruption? Am I doing him a diservice by continuing to “try” when things look so dismal? And if so, what will this mean for Daffy? Is she destined to be chained to him? Is it in her best interest to continue to move from placement to placement never really attaching to anyone?
I am living this in “real time”, I have no crystal ball, I have no “right” answers… I am doing the best that I can… for Daffy, for Donald and for my biological children. I have no idea what the future holds. The only thing I am certain is that it will contain more pain no matter how things finally end.