Thursday, July 22, 2004

No Ice Cream

Early on I did talk to her about how I felt she was treated in the Foster-home.... It was pretty difficult for me on the last night when the family had a good-bye party and because Makala had not eaten her veggies she didn't get any ice cream! On her last night there.... Even when all sorts of people came to the home and everyone else had ice cream.... and Foster mom made a big deal about the baby being good and he could have ice cream! Personally, at a good bye party it should have been all about Makala---it ended up being all about an 11-month old baby who really didn't even know what was actually going on.....

We noticed some real issue in transition...to be honest....such as one activity the family had us join in on was ice skating and Makala was only four and had never done it before???? It seemed like the strangest choice of things to do with a baby and a four year old? We also noticed that Makala was the ONLY person in the household who slept in a room all alone? There were 8 children in the house and she had her own room....

It just didn't seem right. Foster mom would not allow Makala to touch the baby or his toys and when we got home she kept taking his toys to her room....and all over him all the time.... I just figured she was catching up on lost time with him....Foster mom also had mentioned that she 'thought' Makala was RAD or at least had some attachment issues and then went on to talk about a class she had taken about building attachment but that she never worked any of the ideas because she knew Makala would be moving on and she didn't want her to be attached to her when she did....I sure wish that there could be a little better understanding about attachment issues and Foster care it breaks my heart that so many Foster families seem to feel that allowing the child to attach will hurt them---NO IT WILL NOT--it will help them so much if they can start building the skills with even one caregiver then the next move will actually be better for the child and the skills learned can be transfered to the new caregiver....It makes me so mad to think that just because a child will not stay in the home that attachment is avoided! This thinking is wrong and actually hurtful...

For awhile after Makala was placed my feelings were mostly that Foster mom had a personality conflict with her....which I can actually understand being one of those girls that tends to have more male friends then female I have often found other females to be petty and irritating so I chalked it up to that kind of issue--and the fact that Makala is just about the most beautiful little girl I can remember ever seeing.... We were told that when she was placed in the home she would scream every time the Foster dad got near her and he even advised my husband to not be upset if she was stand offish.... She wasn't at all...and he was actually rather surprised. Now a year and a half later Makala talks about how nice it was to sit next to him and watch football games, and her greatest memories are about the Foster dad... He is a kind soul and I really liked him very much I think she found him to be much easier to deal with then the Foster-mom.


Makala has told me many stories about being there and usually I try to respond with a defensive answer--she has said the Foster mom would pour water on her when she had a tantrum and that one time she had to take a nap with a diaper on because she was acting like a baby---My reaction was to say I didn't think that was very nice and that those things wouldn't happen here. It is also very very clear the birthmom was abusive and stories have been told about birthmom breaking all her birthday toys and getting in a fight with the boy friend and biting him. I think the famales in her past have been domenerring and cotrolling which I do not think has helped with our relationship. And then there is the whole wanting to be loved by the Foster Family issue.... She was talking to baby brother a few weeks ago and starting asking if he missed the Foster family.

I told her that he might not remember them when he learns to talk well and that made her very angry.....She thinks he needs to remember everything she does... I know this issue will come up a lot in the future because she is dedicated to making sure brother remembers birthmom and everything she does---most of the time I let it all go and hope that with time she sorts all this stuff out and lets go of the need that he remember the things she does....There are so many unresolved grief issues which was part of the reason I believed that we might not be dealing with attachment. The therapists and some of the literature I have found recently has given me a little better understanding about childhood greif and the fact that some of these issues will not be overcome untill the attahcment issues are dealt with.... .....every once in awhile Makala will tell me I am acting just like the Foster mom so, for the most part, I have tried to stop making any judgement calls about the Foster mom with Makala because they tend to come back and bite me in the rear.....

She does know that we were really sad when we learned the family wanted a sibling split and to keep the baby.... I have told her a few times that the truth was we wanted a little girl just like her and the baby was a bonus to us because we didn't expect a baby brother too! Which is true because we did want a little girl and we didn't expect to have a baby placed with us at our ages.... I have to be careful here though because I don't want her getting the idea we just took him to get her anymore then the other way around....

There are some dynamics with siblings that had not crossed my mind before the placement which have made this all very interesting.... I do not think I have set unrealistic expectations I want and understand that Makala will most likely always keep memories of her life before becoming our daughter and I think she should have this.... I have always been a mom who keeps in mind the fact that I am NOT raising children I am raising Adults....

For me it is the adult relationship I develop with my children that matters more then anything else... I actually hope my Adult relationships with my children is FAR longer then the time I spent as their childhood mom...so in many ways that is the carrot I run after.... Having raised two children I KNOW how fast childhood goes by and I know how important it is to have the foundation with my children for their adult years more then for age 6 and 10 and 12..... I think this kind of thinking relieves a lot of stress for a parent. My grandmother told me the phrase of raising adults when my oldest was first born and I really liked her view on it...

When I interact with my children I often wonder what they will remember about me and their childhood when they are 30? Do I want to be the parent my child remembers as controlling and domineering or do I want to be the parent my child remembers as open-minded and supportive...even when I do not like the choices they make.

Tori and I have become closer this year then ever and I think it has a lot to do with her growing to understand that while I may not like or approve of her adult choices I love her and am here to be as supportive as possible.... Tori had some issues with her father this year and his threats to cut her off from child support for college due to her 'moral' decisions.... I told her that I agree with her fathers feelings but that I would not be dragged into the child support matter---and that we had agreed to provide a certain amount of support too and that we had decided that even though we do not approve of her moral choices either we would continue to provide the support so long as she was doing well at school.....

Tori siad she was surprised with me because she knows I am disspaointed in her choices but at least I am not judgemental and mean about it.... I guess I have accomplished what I wanted to....we have to wait and see....This is the kind of mom I wanted to be one who could express my feelings without judging and making distance between myself and my adult children.... Tori was a long road to raise too so hopefully I will see the same results with Makala--a young woman who can respect the efforts I made but become the woman she strives to be in her own heart...... someone who is not in fear of my reaction even if she knows I won't like the situation.... I don't want my adult children to cut me out of their lives because they follow the beat of a different drummer.... Now lets just hope I live long enough to be around for a long time after these two are grown.....

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