Sunday, June 5, 2016

how has foster care affected our boys?

We have been talking to our boys about adoption for years now.  They have come to understand what that means and what that might look like.  For so long they have waited and waited for a new baby and have been SO, SO, SO excited for a new baby brother or sister.  And then mom and dad go and change things up on them and get licensed in foster care.  Each step of the way we've been honest and told the boys about the changes and how foster care looks different than adoption.  When we got the call for baby G, they all had such sweet reactions.  Lincoln smiled ear to ear and started jumping up and down saying "yay! finally!," Caedmon was more subdued and was a calm "excited" and Dietrich just said "yay, baby!! yay baby!"  That night after baby G came, they all fought over who got to hold him again and again.  Lincoln was overly helpful constantly asking me "can I feed him? can I hold him?  can I hold his bottle for you?"  And anytime I would lay baby G down it was an instant swarm of big brother RIGHT there in his face talking to him, making silly faces at him, gently stroking his head and talking about his cute little toes.  It's safe to say they all attached as quickly to him as they would have if I'd had a baby biologically.  Instant brotherly love.

When we switched to foster care I was at a loss as to how to explain it all to the boys in a way that didn't tell it ALL.  So our social worker gave me some good advice.  She said to explain it as the parents of these sweet babies that come into our home, are sick.  They are so sick that they can't take care of their kids and so while they are getting better, we get to take care of their child.  But then to go further and explain that even if mom and dad don't get better, that the child might go live with an aunt, uncle, grandma or grandpa etc.  And then asking the boys, if we were sick, you would want to go live with one of your aunts and uncles or grandmas and grandpas, right?  Of course they said yes so it made it a little easier for them to understand why a child will leave after living with us for awhile.

Fast forward to now.  We are in the middle of saying good-bye to baby G.  Last week I was informed that we would be doing a visit with his relative and that kind of solidified it for me.  This was moving forward.  So that night we told the boys what was happening, about the visit coming up and that baby G was eventually going to go live with this relative.  Dietrich and Caedmon didn't really respond much but Lincoln was instant tears.  And lots of tears.  So we cuddled and cried with him and talked him through it, answering his questions as he had them and reminding him of what our job was as a foster family to love him as long as he's with us.  After that sad night each of the boys has made comments daily about baby G leaving.  On the way to the splash pad last week Caedmon randomly asked me how many more days we had left with baby G and I told him we didn't know yet.  I look back and see him thinking hard about it all and then he spotted a water tower out the window and moved on (seeing water towers and shouting out that you see one is a fun game we do right now in the car lol).

We took baby G to his visit this past Thursday and how that looks it us taking him to the children services office and then meeting his case worker and the relative in the waiting room, we hand him over and the relative has a supervised 2 hour visit.  Of course I had all three boys with me as well and as we are giving him to his relative the boys said "wait! I need to give him a hug!" so all three proceeded to hug and kiss him in his carseat carrier.  We all laughed and I told the relative that baby G is VERY loved!  We leave the building and as I'm buckling Dietrich in his carseat he keeps sadly saying, "I miss baby, I miss baby."  Tear my heart right out and stomp on it.  Sheesh.  But it was short lived and he moved on.

I say all this just to show you all how it's affecting my boys.  I know some people don't want to get involved in foster care because they think it'll be bad or hard on their biological or current children.  Guys I'm here to say, kids are so resilient and my boys are learning so much about loving and caring for the fatherless through this.  They are seeing what it means to see a need, take a step out in faith and meet that need.  They are seeing how to put other's needs first.  Just last night as Lincoln was helping me fold laundry out of the blue he said to me, "mom I hope baby G's mom and dad appreciate our help when they aren't sick anymore."  And it wasn't said in a harsh tone like we deserve for them to be appreciative, no it was more of just a straight forward thought that he had.  He knows that we are helping them and helping baby G and it just showed me how much he is being affected in a good way by this experience.

We will find out more about when baby G will leave, this Tuesday at our meeting with his case worker but I know it's coming soon and I'm bracing myself.  Every time I pick him up my heart hurts because I love him so much.  But it's a love that I feel to my core every. single. day. when I look into those big dark eyes.  So straight to my core that it could bring me to tears at almost any moment.   We ask that if you think of it, would you pray for us as we say good-bye to our first foster-love.  :)

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