So often as parents who adopted and were foster parents you often hear people say, “how wonderful you are” and “what a saint you must be.” You also hear, “are you crazy? ” “Aren’t you too old for this?”
I am certainly am not a saint and yes I do at times think I am too old for this and if I wasn’t crazy before this I am now. Foster care was both rewarding and painful. The highs, the lows, the heartbreak and joy. Any social worker or foster parent will relate. Then there is adopting those kiddos and giving them a family which brings a different sense of rewards and struggles.
I am by no means a super momma. I don’t have a perfectly clean home, my laundry is not always done and I am not always home to greet my kids when they come home from school. We don’t do family game nights (although I have tried), we don’t make cookies together and we often embarrass our children. We are not the cool parents.
I love my last two but they still have a hard time with their past lives. My alphabet kiddos suffer from ADHD, PTSD, ODD, RAD, fetal alcohol, testing for the autism spectrym and possibly bi- polar. Plus the memories of their before lives and bio parents.If you don’t know the meaning of those letters..don’t look them up; you don’t have that much time.
The teen is angry, defiant and touchy as all get out. It is like he carries his own personal barricades and erects them around him. Shoops porcupine quills at you even when you just say hello. Still after 5 years with us, he challenges us to see if he gets to stay. The new thing is slamming doors and the phrase, “I’m done!” Never sure what he is actually done with as there is no specifics given.
The princess is sweet as can be and then next instant raging or melting down. And those can happen within seconds. Remember the movie Gremlins, they were cute and fuzzy until after midnight. People don’t understand and see us as awful parents for her screaming. Or my favorite as she runs away from us, “Get away from me!Help me, help me!!” It’s a miracle we have not been arrested.
An acquaintance has adopted six children and things seem to run so much smoother. She posts wonderful family photos and shares inspirational stories. Her family is a family of faith. She makes it look graceful and filled with cooperation and hope. I know there are struggles but they shine brightly. I look at them as see a beautiful blended family. I admit I at times enter a fantasy of us being like them.
I feel like a hot, sticky massive blob of mess. I have children that scream and shout they hate me, that I am a terrible mom. This isn’t my first rodeo raising kids. We have basically raised three different sets of children, ages 43, 32, 27, 26, 22, 14 and 11. That doesn’t count most of our foster kiddos or various youth ministeries.But with these two, I feel like an alien in a strange land. Faltering and not hitting that stride where you see the finish line or at least the last runner’s hiney.
These two, I love dearly but am not feeling like I will win mother of the year or even be in the top 25. I feel so defeated at times. There are days and days that we go with multiple blow ups and meltdowns. On the days that seem possibly stress free, you hold your breath waiting for the other shoe to drop. I try to remain calm and even tempered but I fail. I blow my stack or bite my tongue. Then I become frustrated with myself for not being a mature adukt.
I pray a lot more and not always in praise; I pray for patience, I pray for a no melt down day, I pray for a teen who doesn’t clash with his dad, I pray for a day of no yelling or screaming and I pray that I can be the mother they need.I mostly pray for them.
I am not June Cleaver, Ma Walton, Carol Brady or Ma Ingalls. I am not a saint or a wonderful person.I am a woman who God called to love some of his broken children. I don’t understand why me but I know he leads me. I will continue to love my alphabet kids and be the mom they hate because I know I am doing my job. So if you hear my children yelling at me or melting down in public, or see me sending one to the car and frisk in the other for missing items, know that I am not a saint just someone needing prayer. Lots of prayer.
Remember too, that you may see kids having what you think are tantrums, kids who are disrepectful–be careful not to judge. You don’t know the full story. You may see a momma struggling and feeling like she is the worst mother since Joan Crawford, give her a smile and try to understand.
Don’t call me saint or bless my heart. Keep my family in prayer.