I’ve had jobs that made me tired, that drained my of all my energy and generally made life miserable(acting controller, anyone?). But you know what, I usually got paid pretty well for doing those jobs and at some point in time I could leave them and get a break in some plush tropical locale with all the rum punch I could stand. This job pays lousy and there is no break, not any more.
You see we now have a safety plan and that plan designates that our foster kids can’t spend the night away unless the place they go has the same safety plan in place. That means no more weekend trips to regenerate and chill.
The joke is ultimately on me. You see when we went through all the prep and training and interviewing and inspecting and testing that is required to be a foster parent I maintained that we would take any children except special needs. I know special needs folks need to be loved too, I just know myself and my very short fuse – I would not be good for a special needs kid. I’m just not special enough for special needs kids.
But I was so anxious to be a full fledged tried and true foster parent that I jumped at the first placement. Kids with a couple of behavior issues at school, sure we will take them. We can handle it. Right. Guess what we got… a very special, special needs kid who is screwed up every which way there is and we are still diagnosing and testing. And since there are so many issues with one kid, the other kid has to be protected at all times. That means constant adult supervision, and I do mean constant. I can’t even walk the dog around the block without bringing the kids with me. If they are awake, we have to be with them, like eyes on them with them. They can’t be together in the same room without one of us with them.
A wise gentlemen once taught me that it is important to manage for desired outcomes. With these two beautiful kids, I am praying for speedy reunification. They came from a home where they were loved and they belong back with these people that love them. Thankfully their parents are working to make that happen. In the mean time, I now understand my role is to get these kids as much help as I can. That means proper diagnosis, proper medications, counseling and occupational therapy so they can hopefully learn coping skills to avoid the little behavior problems that are now pretty serious significant issues. I’ve spent a good part of this week shuttling between doctors, counselors and schools. But it is time well spent. Hopefully I am investing in these kids so that they can rise above their circumstances.
Going forward I will ask better questions before taking a placement and I will pray and listen before I jump at the next group of kids. I am in so far over my head. That’s how I know God has got this. I can not do this. Tim can not do this. But we are doing it and it is hard but in the end, I know God is doing His thing. These kids are at my house because I am a fixer and a problem solver. I know I can’t fix a very special kid but I can get them properly diagnosed, properly medicated and advocate for considerations and/or better placement in the schools.
Folks, if you have read this far, please offer up a prayer for us. We actually need that more than you can imagine.