So Which Is It?

foster care

Waaaay back when we first started this journey, we took the required foster care classes where we were told that foster children should not be parented the same way as biological children. That stuck with me.  Why am I now being asked why I don’t treat my adopted foster child the same as my other children? Make up your freakin’ minds, people. Oh, and trying LIVING this life before you start offering your unsolicited opinions next time, too!

Yeah, I’m bitter. Can you tell?? It’s been a LONG summer. Hell, its been a long YEAR. Looking back, I would say that the nightmare started when Daisy and April moved in last November. Daffy can not handle ANY competition, real or perceived. Though they stayed only about 6 weeks, Daffy’s attitude never really recovered. Tink moved back home in April and Daffy attributes all of her behaviors to that in an effort to get Tink out of the house. Honestly, I fear for Tink’s baby… Daffy has always been abusive to animals and has made comments wishing harm to Tink’s baby. Daffy’s therapist says there is nothing to worry about, but she doesn’t live what we live and it’s not HER grandson in jeopardy.

Anyway, at this point, we are having more bad days than good. Daffy refuses to follow any rules and then blames us me when she receives consequences. I feel like everyone around me has set me up… Mickey won’t give her consequences and just excuses away her behavior.  Her therapist won’t have any meaningful conversations with her for fear of putting a “divide in their relationship”. It’s all put on me. What the hell??? Does OUR relationship not mean anything? Am I just the sacrificial lamb????

As the suggestion of Daffy’s therapist, I met with Donald’s former therapist a couple of times recently. (Daffy’s therapist wouldn’t meet with me or do family therapy because it would undermine HER relationship with Daffy.) It was a somewhat validating experience in that she said I am not the first adoptive parent in this situation and feeling the way I do. She also revisited the idea of Daffy’s original reactive attachment disorder diagnosis being accurate. She is concerned about Daffy seeing her birth Mom because of the impact it’s having on my relationship with Daffy, but is not willing to go on record because she hasn’t “met” Daffy (she is very familiar with this case having been involved since the time of placement). Daffy’s therapist feels the same, but you know damned well any decision will fall squarely on MY shoulders. It will be relationship damning. I asked Donald’s former therapist “How can I make the decision that MY relationship with Daffy is more important than the relationship she has with her birth mother?” She replied that Daffy is attached to her birth mother. She is not attached to me.

I still have not made any official decision, though Daffy has not had a visit with her birth Mom since the one overnight they did at the beginning of July. I just don’t know what to do. I hate life. I hate waking up every day knowing that at least one (if not both) of us will shed tears. I’m tired of being hated. If I had known that adoption from foster care was this physically exhausting, I can’t say I would have done it. I’m in over my head. I’m drowning. And I’m alone.

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13 Comments

  1. I am so sorry you’re going through this. I have heard that parenting the adopted child is the same as parenting a biological child, but there are so many differences.

    Reply
  2. I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this without the necessary support. I wish I had some advice but these things can’t be remedied easily. I hope you can find some support soon. On here, if nowhere else…

    Reply
  3. This process of adoption through foster care has really befuddled me at every step. It is daunting and downright scary. There is so much that is unknown and so much that we are left to deal with on our own. It does feel as if you are being set up as a scapegoat. Be strong enough to rely on your support network. We are lucky enough to have an “older child adoption” support group. They seem like the only people on the planet that believe and understand all of what we say. Best of luck. If all else fails, at least we (and the whole internet) are here for you.

    Reply
  4. Linda

     /  August 22, 2013

    I have read your tweets and blogs for over a year and have witnessed the ups and downs you and your family have gone through. The joy of Daffy’s adoption and the burgeoning relationship you two had have slipped away as she became so very challenging. You are going through such a gruelling and worrying time and sometimes it is apparent that you feel lost and unsure as to how to move forward. No-one knows all the answers, all anyone can do is to try to do their best to keep going for their family. I will continue to read your posts and keep hoping that things improve, you deserve good times ahead.

    Reply
  5. Minnie, sorry to hear that you’re having such a tough time. I hope you find a support system soon. Good luck!

    Reply
  6. KimberlyV

     /  August 23, 2013

    Words can’t express my sorrow for you. I’m so grateful for your posts. Twitter just doesn’t give much detail of what you are going through. Keep writing! Not cause we’re nosey, but because you are not alone!

    Reply
  7. Jessica

     /  August 25, 2013

    I am an adoptive from foster care parent too and it is hard. I took it on as a single parent straight from graduate school. Although we are not going through the same thing, just know that there are parents like you out there. I feel alone sometimes too. The state gives the support speech on how they will support your relationship, family, etc, but I haven’t heard from anyone since adoption day. I inquire about support groups and find there is nothing. I’ve been inquiring about things my daughter is now bringing up that happened to her in foster care and at her birth parents to find out they can’t or won’t tell me anything. I feel your frustration. Just know you aren’t alone!

    Reply
  8. Hi there. I am fairly new to your blog but think you are doing a wonderful job. It’s a very isolating and often thankless job though. I live in MA and there’s a great listserv for us foster adoptive parents so that we can be a part of a community together. I know you’re not in our state but I think the emotional support could be invaluable for you. For example, last week a woman posted saying she needs emotional support for herself and the list came through with tons of local resources for her. I bet they could help you too. Can I suggest this listserv to you? http://www.mspcc.org/page.aspx?pid=446#online. Good luck and keep on keeping on.

    Reply
  9. Stephanie

     /  September 22, 2013

    Oh, if I could count the times that I have thought those exact thoughts. That my relationship with my child was the sacrifice for doing what was right for him. Or that no one understood WHY he hated me so much! Feeling like every.single.encounter. with my child ended with some sort of blame game or more deterioration to our relationship.
    I’m so sorry you are feeling this way, but I promise you are not alone. I understand those feelings all too well, and it just sucks.
    ::hugs::

    Reply
  10. candice

     /  September 25, 2013

    Thank you for your honesty. I am in the process mow of becoming a foster to adopt parent… it helps to hear the truth. I work with kids of all ages and what helps me to bond with them is to balance hard tasks with fun tasks, to build compliance. Sometimes a child doesn’t want to listen even if its something good. You could be offering to make cupcakes and they could fight you. In those situations I look for ways to “decrease” the task. If I started out asking to bake cupcakes together and I noticed this would create an hour long of fighting I would prompt the child to follow through with helping me get the ingredients or read the directions, I might even pretend like I need their help for some thing small, “Can you reach your small hand in there, thanks for helping!” Then I’d immediately let them go back to what they were doing, or give them a fun thing to do like “Thanks so much, why don’t you go watch tv and then you can help me frost.”

    Every time you get the child to comply you are building control. By pairing yourself with fun things you are building rapport.

    Also people like people who like them. Same thing with kids. I can go into a house and the kid will tell me they hate me or they don’t want me there. I do not let that behavior deter me from expressing my love and respect for them. I’ll same something like,” I really like u. OR you are so honest with your feelings, thanks for sharing, or I’m really happy to spend time with you, let’s have fun.” They might tantrum but if you sit quietly, patiently until the tantrum rum is over than you can state or restate what it is you want them to do. Kids really need clear and concise instruction. Sometimes you can redirect a tantrum and gain control by giving clear concise command, like sit down. You can prompt that and after a tantrum they’ll sit down and you’ll say, “Thanks for sitting down like I asked.” Hold this, or come here…. adding another command that is small right a way will build that control.

    Hopefully these things help.

    May God bless you and your household. Only He truly understands our suffering, you are never alone the Lord is near, call on Him. Proverbs 3:5-6

    Reply
  11. Jessica

     /  September 30, 2013

    We are foster parents also (plan was ‘foster to adopt’ also….) We got a call for a 3 year old boy a little over a year ago- our first foster child. Things were rough for a while. We have two bio children (ages 8 and 10) who have been a huge help- it has taken all four of us to take care of him. He was very neglected, abused, and molested. Bio mom is schizophrenic and bio dad and two bio grandparents are bipolar. We had said that we could not accept a child with mental illness because of our other two kids. Well, the TPR case is coming up for him, and we were preparing to adopt him. We never told him this- he has always known that this is a temporary placement for him. He has had some serious behavioral issues and everyone told us he’s just ‘acting out’ because of all he’s been through. He is 4 and a half now, and last week he had his first psychotic episode. He got dismissed from his preschool because his teacher said her other students were no longer safe with him in the room. He came home and told us that the only thing that makes him happy is thinking about killing the kids in his class and his teacher- and that voices in his head are telling him to ‘do bad things’. He had even devised plans on how he would kill a few of the kids in his class. Needless to say- we were just floored. We are both in the medical profession, so we knew that we were likely looking at a serious budding mental illness. We had to call social services and let them know that our plan would not be to adopt. We had to consider our other children and their safety- not to mention our sanity. We were SO grateful this showed up before we ever started the adoption process with him- and the social worker agreed that he needs to be adopted as an only child to parents who feel they can handle possible mental illness. We feel so guilty- he has called us Mom and Dad from day 2 (we did not encourage that- he did that on his own and told us we were his mom and dad ‘for now’). He can be the sweetest most affectionate child at times- and other times you see a totally different kid. My parents think we are overreacting and that we are terrible for ‘abandoning him again’ after he has lived with us for over a year. But we have to be realistic. We agreed to foster him until an appropriate adoptive home can be found- which could take months, but we are ok with that because his mental issues are only occasional right now- will get worse as he gets older. I am SO sorry you are going through this. I can’t imagine it. We have tried to imagine how awful this would be if we had realized it after we had already adopted him and we can’t. As bad as we feel, and as badly as we wanted this to work out, we know we can’t handle it. I’ll be praying for you!

    Reply
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