Foster Parenting - Log #19


Phew! Sigh! I'm tired. The last week has been a blur of activity and my brain hasn't had time yet to process it all.

Jason and Amy, our two foster children, left our home last night. They were with us for 8 days [We have yet to foster children for more than 10 days... all of our placements have been short term even when they start out expecting to be long term].

What can I say about this placement? It was hard. Harder than anything I've ever done. The most stressful week of my life, of my family's life. I am not exaggerating. Both Jason and Amy have special needs that require more attention than we/I could give them. They are on their way to a therapeutic foster home - a special type of foster home designed for children with special needs. They will also be reunited with two of their siblings in that new foster home.

What made this so tough? The never-ending demands on me take a toll after some time. I know what it's like to be a full-time mom. I realize that kids have needs that you must care for throughout the day. I'm used to filling cups, changing diapers, refereeing squabbles, helping put on / take off clothes, etc. I don't mind these tasks. Yet I do need time to recharge my own batteries.

Naptime and bedtime are generally those times when I get a little breather and can gain perspective. With Jason and Amy, neither naptime nor bedtime happened in a way that provided me with any break. Neither of the kids would fall asleep without the other one in the room and neither would sleep without me in the room. This isn't a huge issue, as there is an extra bed in their room. Yet, they still fought sleep. About half of the days we tried, they napped. The other half, they ran around - screaming, hitting, kicking, banging on doors and windows. They could not be left along in their bedroom, for fear of them hurting one another or breaking something (like the door, the window, etc). They also screamed even louder when left alone in a room.

Our nights weren't much better. Again, I had to be in the room with them. They took over 2 hours to fall asleep most nights. Then they woke up at least once during the night, running around, being loud, waking the other one up, etc. One night Amy was up from 10 pm until 3 am. Night after night of sleep deprivation doesn't lead to good things... for children or for moms!

Perhaps the sleep issues wouldn't have been so bad, if our days were filled with fewer issues. But our days were filled with many troubles of their own. Jason was aggressive and violent. Amy had no restraint and didn't understand "no," so she was often caught turning the microwave on, trying to turn the knobs on the stove, getting into the fridge for whatever looked good to her, playing with the computer, sneaking outside, etc. My attention span whittled down to 30 seconds - I needed to know where both of them were every 30 seconds of every minute, every hour, every day or there was likely trouble happening somewhere.

Case in point: one day I was walking my son through an "I'm sorry" session with his sister because he hit her. My daughter, my son, Amy and I were all in the living room as my son was apologizing. As he's talking, I hear the back door open and close. Only Jason is unaccounted for. I walk away from my son's apology and head to the backyard. After a quick look around, I don't see Jason and wonder if he didn't actually go outside after all but stayed in the house. I return to the house and do a super quick walk-through and don't find him. I ask my daughter to help me find him outside. She quickly spots him on the road in front of our neighbor's house. I call for him. He takes off running further from our house. I told my daughter to stay in the house with the other children as I ran as fast as I could to catch Jason. He made it 4 more houses down the road. Thankfully there were no cars in sight, so he was not in any real danger. But this was a 2-year-old with no qualms whatsoever about walking out of the house and booking it as far as possible down the road.

So the constant 24/7 supervision took a toll and coupled with the lack of sleep and the fact that I had my own two children to care for - there was no way this placement could last for long.

I will share next time about how this placement affected my biological children and where we go from here.

For now, I'm taking a much-needed breather and planning to catch a nap!


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