August 1, 2011

Chi Chi

Our foster care experience was far different then I had imagined it would be.  To be honest, I don't think I really knew what to expect.  When we agreed on fostering, I was very plain about ensuring that we only took children that were ready to be adopted.  I expressed that in every way possible to the people who trained us, but they want you to foster... they push it.  They want you to adopt to, but they all say you foster to adopt.  So we agreed to foster and hoped and prayed we would be able to adopt.  The calls started coming, so many kids needing a safe home to go to.  We would pray, and nothing felt right.  Then we got the call for Chi, it felt good.  Four hours later he was in our home.  It was bizarre, we weren't prepared for a 10 month old baby.  I ran to the store, set up the crib, tried to think of everything, and my dear friends helped fill in the gaps with bags full of necessities.  It took Chi about two minutes to get comfortable, he just wanted to be held and loved.  He was an amazingly sweet boy, he adapted to our schedule like a champ.  The more information I got about Chi the more I started to care.  His history, his life... it had been hard.  I wanted to invest all my love and attention into him, but I was also very guarded.  I did not want to care so much and then have to send him back to that life.  My emotions were torn, I opted for babysitter mode.  It was all I could do to protect my emotions from getting to attached and having my heart ache for him.  The onslaught of extra "help" in my life was daunting as well.  I have never felt more on display and judged in my whole life.  People were calling and dropping in to check, assess, drive Chi to appointments, and check on my emotional state.  The ball dropped on a day when I was having a crap mom moment.  Gus had been in time out about 5 times by 10:00am, he didn't enjoy Chi, he didn't like sharing mom with him  (standard kid procedure.)  I started to resent the whole situation, my son wasn't happy, Chi was having to deal with that unhappiness and I was so worn out trying to make sure everyone had their needs met.  I was visited by a case worker... awesome timing.  I broke down, I told her I was really struggling.  James and I had long talks and days of back and forth.  Why had we felt so inspired to do this, and had we gotten it wrong?  I prayed to understand what I needed to do, suck it up and tough it out, learn some lesson and make life changes...what?  Even though Chi wasn't "ours" it was one of the hardest things I had to do to call and tell them we needed to move him to another home.  I was heartbroken and felt like such a failure, like I had failed that sweet boy who needed so much love.  We learned so much from the experience, so many things we need to improve and change.  I think it was such a blessing to our family, and hopefully we made some small impression on Chi.  I still miss him, and oddly Gus still talks about baby Chi.  It's interesting the way our Heavenly Father teaches us things, he made some of my greatest weaknesses known to me so that I can work on making them strengths.  So, although it didn't work out we are grateful for the experience and pray that we grow from all that we learned.


Jill said...

I'm impressed you did it in the first place. I don't think I could for all the reasons you listed.

Danika said...

You are amazing, and whatever you decide for your family will be right.

jake and jenni said...

You are an incredible, strong, loving, person/mom. Chi is super blessed to have been in your home. He wasn't meant to be your forever baby, but got to give you a taste of how much you can love a baby from another lady's belly.
{and that intensifies when they are sopposed to stay forever}
I hope you don't feel like you failed.
you didn't!!
You are smart to know your limits and be humble enough to admit them.
You are a rockstar!

mrs t said...

I know how you feel. Fostering is a tough thing to go through, for so many reasons.

jill s said...

I think you are amazing for being honest with yourself and the case worker by saying he needed to be in a different home. I lost track of your blog for awhile but I'm glad I stumbled on it again. You are awesome.