Wednesday, November 11, 2015

In which month seven brings on the fire...

We're seven months in.  If I had written this post six months in it would have been peppered with "it's hard but you know we've turned a corner I think" or "it's messy sometimes but for the most part I think we're managing it well."  Month seven?  It's kicking our tail.  Like the tail is gone and the body is just a mangled mess of "are we doing things completely wrong" or "are they even feeling like this is home yet?"  SO many things to work through and so much pain that manifests itself in the worst ways.  What we're dealing with now is, finalization.  Next Thursday we fly back to their home city and attend court on Friday to make this thing official, and I'm pretty sure that's what the mess of month seven is all about.  Finality.  Going back "home" but not having any home to go to or any one person to visit because everyone that has been in their lives has hurt them, enabled them, and changed them but with our kids that doesn't necessarily mean they don't WANT to see them.  There's such a tough balance between wanting them to know you're excited for the permanency of them being an official part of your family but at the same time respecting their sadness and confusion over an official goodbye to their birthplace, family and a very sordid past. I was traveling home from Florida at the end of the September with Jashawn in tow and I had this thought...I wonder if he feels relief in knowing that at the end of our 19 hours in the car he will feel like he really is at HOME.  Did he miss it?  Did he long for it?  Because I'll tell you I'm 33 years old and sometimes I still want to be HOME, in my childhood home on Banyan Drive.  There's no other feeling like it, the familiar drive and faces, and the fact that I celebrated birthday's there, holiday's, there's a spaghetti noodle stain on the ceiling in the dining room that my mom has purposefully left there because she knows it reminds her grown children of the time they were probably making her crazy and threw the noodle up there in the first place.  I learned to drive and ride a bike on that street, walked to my friends houses on that street, the pantry door still doesn't close right and I can hear the sound of the back door opening and closing just the same way it always did when my dad would come home every day from work.  The hardest part is that I want them feel connected to this now because my desire is for them to understand what they've been missing for the sole purpose of mending those tiny little broken hearts.
Tonight I tried to reason with my oldest son about why his behavior wasn't acceptable.  I used a calm tone, I was very careful to use my words so as not to allow him the distraction of inaccuracy and I defied in my person every possible stubborn reaction to his hurtful words (which if you know me you know that this was a complete act of God).  This is the dance we do, me and him.  He moves towards me in desperate need of my love, acceptance and affection and then realizes it might cause him hurt so then he serves me up a big ole platter of "I'll show you how much I don't need you".  It hurts.  It didn't hurt in the beginning because time was not on our side, I knew it wasn't ME it was THEM.  It was HER.  SHE left him home for hours at a time to care for his siblings by himself.  SHE allowed unsafe people into her home.  SHE moved them time and time again.  SHE abused drugs.  SHE said unkind things.  SHE called the abuse hotline on HERSELF.  SHE had no intentions of working a case plan and not having her rights terminated.  HIS pain was HER doing but HIS love for HER is still there.  I'm acutely aware that it always will be, and no matter how many books, blogs, forums, articles I read that told me of this phenomenon I knew that I would have to experience it firsthand to truly believe it.  Loving children from hard places cannot be compared to anything else in this world...not one thing.  It puts you in this little bubble that very few people understand and heightens your awareness of how they are treated and causes you to have clarifying conversations almost daily with those in their life.  You want them to be treated just like everybody else, you want that stigma gone because you want them to feel connected and not "weird" to their peers but you also have to come to terms with how that's completely unreasonable.  They must be treated differently because they weren't treated with care in the beginning and I find myself juggling school expectations, family expectations, friend expectations, home expectations and truly, honestly, there are different expectations in all those scenarios.  You just have to but your big girl panties on and keep juggling.  Sure you can take a break and go cry your eyes out in the bathroom but honey you better come back out with those balls a jugglin' because you're in charge of the undoing.  That is in fact what you signed up for when you not so nervously inquired about a sibling group of four in the foster care system.  

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  1. Kari, this is such beautiful insight into what you are experiencing. Loving you all through prayers.

  2. I KNOW what is happening, but I don't KNOW what you're going through. I mean I can see some of the turmoil and can imagine some of it too, but honestly, I have nothing to relate to here. Just some of my CASA cases, or other friends who've walked this path. You put it out there for us and I'm so glad you do. It's important to get an inside glimpse of this life. Especially as more and more of my friends and family will be dealing with similar issues. Love you, Braveheart. Stay strong. I'll always be here, even if it's just to buy you another pair of Big Girl panties and cheer you on then shove you back in the ring. Fight! I'm in your corner.