Monday, May 10, 2010

Just because's Mother's day doesn't mean you stop doing Mom duties. Yesterday was Mother's day and we went to church first. That was nice. Then we went to see Aiyee Mimi, and went to have Indian food for lunch. Her treat. YUM. :) Then we treated ourselves to Starbucks, just Sis and I, not the kids. They went with us, but no treats for them there. After that, we took Grandma Janice some flowers and Granny Gail some flowers. It was all good.

Unfortunately, after that... someone had a bit of a meltdown.

As Sis and I were talking inside (her house), Nephew and Lil M were bugging T. So, T yelled at them to stop. Which made us both run outside to see what was going on. T yelled at Sis. Sis yelled at T. T punched my car window (at least twice), and then walked off. All Sis wanted was T to tell her what was wrong so we could fix it, and instead got yelled at disrespectfully. So, I followed T, and got her calmed down a bit.

After that, apologies all around. We are family, even if temporary, and respect must be shown. Then Sis got T some ice for her hand.

On the way home we realized that T might have done more damage than we first thought to her hand. So we went to Urgent Care, where they put a temporary cast on it. She broke her 5th knuckle on her right hand. She goes to an Ortho Dr this week for a perm cast. Oh boy.

I'm going to back up for a sec. On Saturday this weekend I had a mandatory foster class regarding de-escalation and how to handle someone who might come at you (and how to re-direct them in a protective kind of way). Now, these classes are important because they help us to know when a situation might get out of hand and how we might be able to handle it. Calming the situation down is essential. Yesterday, T did not come at one of us, but she did get upset and cause herself harm by hitting the window... and, for me, my objective was to de-escalate the situation as quickly as possible, for all our sakes. I was able to do that, so that part was good.

Now, the bigger thought for the day is... foster kids are different in some ways. We don't always know their entire stories. I don't know all of hers. And, so even though they may exhibit behaviors we'd rather not see in our own children, they are coming from a different place and sometimes that place is extremely sad/lonely/depressing/difficult - to the Nth degree. What we have seen or experienced in our lives as negative or hurtful is 10 times worse where they came from, because there are some just-plain-awful people out there who abuse their children. Yes, abuse. And when they come to us, they are fragile in ways we just don't think they appear... and one little thing can send them over the top all the while seeming completely ridiculous to us.

Yelling means you're just on the first rung of normal chain of events for them. They expect that the yelling is going to turn into hitting or punching or pushing them out the door. Leaving them. Giving them up. Not loving them. Everyone gives up on them. And so, something that we take for granted... yelling at our own kids when they make a mistake (when, we shouldn't then even, probably, but hey... we're all human) means something entirely different to a foster child. Even if they are a teenager. Even if they are going through their own hormonal stuff. Especially because of those things.

It is very difficult to remain calm when it seems like something happens that is so 'normal' that it could (and might even be) typical teenage behavior. Actually, it is damn hard. But remembering it is ALL couched in fears, denials, abuse, neglect, hatred (of themselves, from others, to others, all of the above) and failure can help to keep perspective when something happens that makes you want to react.

My thought is that her behavior rapidly escalated this weekend due to it being Mother's day and all her feelings around her own situation. I can't expect her to be 'grateful' to be at my home when all she wants is to be with her 'real' family. She is 17. She has a family. They may be broken in ways... but it's still her family. And, for better or worse, all I can do is to try to help her in this spot in her life. Though, it did disappoint me that she didn't even wish me a happy Mother's day.

I've taken myself off the list to have more than one foster child at this time. One is enough right now. She needs more than I know how to give some days... adding another would just make that even more difficult, IMO. And, then there's Lil M. So between the two... I've got my hands full.

Back to T. Her previous foster parents stopped placement when she punched their dash in their car. Somehow, I am wondering if she thinks that's what I'm going to do - send her back, though we haven't talked about it. But I'm not. I wasn't happy that she punched anything, but she didn't go after anyone (if she did, that'd be different). She did walk away. So, this is just something we're going to have to work through. Prayers are welcome.



Billy said...

You sound such an amazing foster mother!
Wish things were easier.

Mama Melissa said...

Aren't you sweet. Some days are easier than others... happens right now that they aren't quite as easy...

I do not feel amazing. Somehow I don't think I'll know if this will help her in the long run, yet... still hoping, though.