Update – and more lessons

Tomorrow will mark three months of doing this thing so many of you have done already that we are just now trying out – parenting. What a crazy way to learn how to do it. We are now fostering just one child. The older brother had many issues that just seemed to be compounding and I cried uncle to our social workers about three weeks ago. He was moved to the Methodist Home for Children this past Monday. He was placed into a residential treatment program for kids with issues like his. At first I felt like a complete failure and the worst kid of person for giving up on a kid and causing more trauma in his already traumatic life. But then while we were waiting on a place to open up at MHC, I got a call from the counselor at his school. Strike three. His issues are bigger than me and he really needs treatment by people who know how to help him and have the resources to make it all come together. I pray that the really awesome folks at the MHC can get through to him and help him manage his anxiety in a way that is socially appropriate.

We have been down to one kid for less than a week and it has been so awesome. We are relaxed, we are communicating better with each other and enjoying our time with our little friend. This week was Winter Break so we spent some time in Atlanta visiting the Aquarium and American Girl. We have shopped till we dropped and had a pajama day. Day three of just the three of us, Tim and I were laughing at something she said and we looked at each other with one of those looks that means so much between married people. This one said, “Yeah, this is good. We can do this.” So we are committed to foster her until her family is able to parent her again. We can do this. I am working out visitation with her brother weekly and plan to pick him up and take him to his family visitation each week at Chick-Fil-A but it sounds like he will be there until he completes the program and can have “normal” relationships. Our house is much quieter and the issues we are dealing with feel more like normal parenting issues and not something I needed a PhD in child abnormal psychology to handle.

So the latest lesson for Miss Lisa came today. I was completely frustrated with our Little Girl about a homework assignment she has had since October that she tells me is due Tuesday and she has done NOTHING on. Her plans were really bad, she had done no research, and had no idea what it would take to get this thing done and I was pissed. Tim jumped in and started Googling to find out what we could do in the short term to sort of meet the requirement. He’s great that way. After I chilled out I talked her through the thought process she had gone through to pick her project and after about 2 hours of talking through the process I got her to understand she had picked an unattainable project and needed to start over. Here’s the lesson for me, I knew what she needed to do and found myself completely frustrated with her for not knowing it too. But taking the time to talk her through it she figured it out on her own with my gentle coaching and came to a redesigned project that we can get accomplished in the time frame she has remaining. Moral of the story – parenting takes time.

Boy how I wish kids had a reset button that you could push that would make them reset to factory settings. It would make things so much easier. Instead I have to work with the programming they have and figure a workaround and that takes time. Patience is not in my wheel house and I never pray for it, I really don’t want it. But guess God knows I need to figure it out anyway. Thank God that Tim is blessed with patience enough for both of us while I learn.

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