Sunday, June 13, 2010


I had a long, but good week away at a conference this past week, as y'all know. I didn't have a whole lot of time to soul-search, so I'm still feeling quite stressed, overwhelmed about the T situation. Right before I left, all she seemed to want to do was get herself in trouble.

Today, I got the sweetest email from a fellow SMBC and friend. The nicest part for me was that she wasn't judgmental because I'm feeling like giving up. She said she'd pray for me and the situation. And that she tells her own daughter that when something is hard they can still do it.

I'll admit, this has become hard for me. I'm not an "experienced parent of a teenager". I'm not a pro. I'm not sure I'm even good at this. I just wanted to parent - to expand my family...which doesn't feel like it's really happened here. I can give stability and that's about all at this moment. I'm having a hard time being encouraging or even think encouraging thoughts right now. It is unfortunate, yes. But the thing is, no one else is walking in my shoes. And I don't feel like I have a huge amount of support I need.

Yes, my friends and family are amazing. They are encouraging and have my back. But none of us has done this before. And I *know* logically the reasons (possibly) behind some of T's actions... but then that sticky thing called emotion gets in the way. And I haven't been dealing with it all as well as I should be able to. I'm not perfect. I'm not a saint. I'm not a god. I'm just an ordinary human being who was/is trying to help in some way. And it is hard. Maybe too hard?

Part of my issue is that I feel like I have stress coming from all sides... work and home. And, when I started all this, I only had home stress... not work stress, too. And I desperately need my job and to keep a roof over our heads. Work is hard right now. It just is. So, if I can't get this emotional crap under control... I might need to take a break. But then I read C's email. And she said that she tells her daughter that they can do 'hard'... and that I'm an inspiration (which makes me want to cry, because I don't feel very inspirational at all).

What I do feel like is that people thought I was crazy for starting this foster stuff. And now that I"m having a tough time, they act like it is just easy-peazy... that I should just be able to walk right through it with no difficulty. I can hear their disappointment. Well, it wasn't easy to start and it isn't easy to be in it either. (for the record, I asked for a younger child...)

Just now, two boys showed up unannounced at the door asking for T. Which sort of makes me angry... because, that means they probably come over when I'm not here (which is like rule number 1 at my house - no one in the house when I'm gone). Oh well. She's a teen, right? I should have expected all this, right? I shouldn't let it get to me, right? Well, I'm a human being... and feeling like a failure. Right or wrong, that's how I feel. Her actions don't reflect on me, because she wasn't with me for the first 17 years.

But the problem is that she rejects me daily. I'm having a hard time separating her behaviors and what they stem from (in her past), and her rejection of me and our little family. She doesn't want to be here. I know that. And logically, I understand. This is a vent... and I'm trying to work through the feelings part. They've taken over. It's just much easier when I can be logical about all of it and not let the feelings get in the way. The problem is... then I'd be a robot.

As I've mentioned before... before you judge me for my feelings, perhaps you should try to walk in my shoes. Otherwise, could you please send up a prayer and send me some good vibes... maybe I'll be able to get through this. If not... well, I tried.

On top of it, I was gone for a week. I had a lot of emotions dealing with that. All is well with Lil M. It is good to be home and we seem to be OK (except she's not been giving me as much eye contact, but she does seem to want to be with me a lot, which is good). The conference was amazing. I learned a little and got to generally be my techie self... which is what I need to find more of - myself. That was a good lesson this week. I need to figure out how to balance things better when it comes to being Lil M's Mommy... T's foster-mom, and my own self - a Woman with a career and life of my own... Some things I can do are ... get a sitter once every couple of weeks and have some "me" time. Use the respite care for T, that's what it's designed for (I hadn't because I wanted to use some days for this long week away)... start taking classes again or study for a certification. Oh, and run.

I am used to having a lot of goals, and lately I feel like I'm just sitting behind the 8 ball. I feel like I have no control. So, I think I need to sit down and make a list of more goals for myself. And myself alone. Take back some control and not just be 'reactive'. I think this is all more important now more than ever... especially since I've been so stressed. Control what I can, let the rest go, right?

Maybe I'll try to write some goals down tonight.



Tom in Vegas said...

I think being a teenager - even with an immaculate upbringing - is a tumultuous phase of one's life. I think the word I used on your other blog to describe this period was "combusting" or "combustible." What this also means is that no matter how hard you try to set someone on the right path, that someone may choose not to listen to more experienced sources and instead travel in their own misguided direction. To think of yourself as a failure because you feel "T" rejected your home or you is simply ludicrous and without merit. I know emotions get in the way, but after all, like you said, you are human and not a cold slab. The fact of the matter is that "T" would feel the SAME about anybody who gave her directions or suggestions that were in conflict with what she wants and when she wants it. From what I've read, you seem to have had one expectation about how this whole foster parenting would unfold, and instead got something else. More on that later.

"T" is being a teenager, and soon she'll be old enough to make a decision about whether to stay with you or walk away. If she chooses to walk away, then be at peace with the thought that you gave this family one heck of a try. And despite your best efforts, if things didn't unfold ideally, you were human and loving enough to open your house to someone who desperately needed it at the time. "T" is lucky to have ended up with you. It's not beyond the scope of possibility that "T" could have ended up in the house of someone who is apathetic about her future and well being, or, worse yet, some sicko pervert. Let go if "T" chooses to walk away. It's HARD, but someone else needs you more.

Look at all that you have done. You spent years going through the excruciating process of adoption, and after God knows how long, you flew to China and came back with Mia. You have a college degree, and a promising future in the field you have selected (it's tough now but things will change). You've done pretty well for someone who is a "failure." Anyhoo, I'm beginning to sound cliche, but I'm definitely being sincere. Don't think I'm trying to flatter you or bullshit my way into your good graces. Your life - imperfect as it may be - speaks for itself without the need of flattery.

Well, your lucky I'm taking a day off to stay home and do absolutely nothing and remain undistracted, so we can talk about stuff like this. I'm screening my calls to ensure that NO ONE can get a hold of me.

Also, I wasn't aware that the situation with "T" had taken such a significantly difficult turn, so I will more than likely delete the comments I left on To China.

Mama Melissa said...

i'm not trying to get you to delete your comments, Tom. i just felt the need to vent my feelings tonight. i sort of feel alone, even though i do have great friends and family... and right now, that makes it tougher than i guess i thought it might. i think i need to try to find some other single foster parents... which my friend C suggested, but it seems to be tough.

yes, you are right. and i guess i should have expected the combustion... i guess i thought that we were doing well and that it wouldn't be that way with her... she's human, too, though... and going through a lot. my biggest problem is her lack of wanting to talk to me. which is also not really her fault. she's never had someone to be there, like i am, i guess. and i know all that logically, like i said... those darn sticky emotions.

sometimes writing all this down makes it difficult, too, because i think people are only thinking i'm just complaining... and that i don't have anything to complain about. i'm not trying to do that. i'm just trying to process it all and see if i can make it work somehow.

you are right that T would likely feel the same way no matter who's 'family' she was in right now. thanks for the reminder. that takes a little of the sting off of me personally. (did i mention, emotions get in the way sometimes?)

to be honest, i didn't have any overt expectations when she came here... i guess when she told me she wanted school and college, that set my expectations then, and her making some of the decisions she's made (to get in trouble at school, preg, etc) have disappointed me, i'm afraid. (again, not cold slab)... i didn't mean for it to happen. and maybe i can find some perspective now. i'm going to try, anyway...

thanks for the encouragement and the thoughts. again, you don't need to remove any comments... i wasn't trying to get you to do that. this is all actually helpful for me.


Tom in Vegas said...

The only reason I was going to remove my comments was because thought I was being somewhat insensitive posting dorky comments on what was a very serious subject matter. I know you weren't trying to get me to delete them:0)

I don't look at you as someone who is a bellyacher or a grumpy nitpicker. I'm pretty sure I can speak for all of us who read your blog and say you DO NOT come off as someone like that (I've said this before). Blogs have become more mainstream in helping people share many of their experiences and in seeking out advice from commenters. So don't feel bad for venting and sharing moments of your life, both good and bad.

Please don't take "T's" attitude as personal rejection. If your sis, or even me, had been in your shoes and acted with the same concern you acted with, then "t" would be "rejecting" us. You're just trying to be a good, and responsible foster parent, and NO prudent parent in this entire world would criticize anything that you have done. Yes, emotions get in the way because you're a human being and you care about "T." No one want to feel as if their love or welcoming acceptance is being rejected by someone else. Gain, there is no rejection here, just teenage bullheadedness and teenage temperament.

I think someday you're going to get the family you wished for. It's such a benevolent desire that I can't see how it could be denied to you. You just have to be patient. It may be that "T" is a part of it, it may be that she chooses not to be a part of it. Just take comfort in the fact that you TRIED to be a good parent, and that TRYING was ALL that was available to you. Besides, you have a MAJOR start in having a bigger family with Mia:0)

The offer I made two posts ago is still good. Let me know if I can be of any service:0)

Laraf123 said...

Glad you are home and glad you have your family to support you through this time. I really admire your commitment to T. Someday she will too.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but what did you expect when taking in a teen? That she would be "thankful" and bond right away??! Worse, I am sure she can sense your hesitancy to go forward.
Also, in her defense, pregnancy hormones can really do a number on women. During both my pregnancies, it was as if I had constant pms. LOTS of mood swings. And I had a supportive husband and family, as well as a home and a job and was living my future, not wondering about it. So I can't even imagine what this poor girl is going through. :( She is probally all over the place and clinging to whatever comes her way (and a lot of the time, that can include boys and unhealthy things)
You need to decide and NOW. To go forward halfheartedly maybe just as bad as giving up. It sounds like this girl has had others give up on her, and/or never give her an unquestionable 100% of themselves (which is just what good parents do).

Mama Melissa said...

I never, ever said that I thought she would or should be thankful. If you have read my blog at all you'd see that. I'm allowed to vent.

Frankly, unless you have something helpful to say, don't come back.