Monday, October 4, 2010

the big day

My foster daughter turns 18 today. When she came to live with us last year, she was adament that she would leave on this day. After a little while, she changed her mind and said she would stay until she graduates. Then she got pregnant and we had a bumpy time there for a bit. She wavered on when she would leave. Then she said she would stay. She plans to stay until she graduates, or until next summer sometime... hopefully, until she gets into college.

But today is the big day. I'm wondering how things will be after today. If she gets mad at me will she just pick up and leave one day? Or have we built enough of a relationship that she'll have enough sense to stay even if something like that happens? I pray it is the latter.

From my perspective, it's kind of hard to believe she's been with me since December, almost 10 months now. I can say that time has truly flown by. 10 months ago, I was afraid of what might happen and how I'd manage to actually be a Foster Parent. I didn't know if I could do it. Would she get along with Lil M? Would Lil M be OK... and like her? What would our lives look like, and would it be OK?

It's kind of odd, I went through all the classes and have adopted, so I thought I knew how it might feel bringing another person into the house, into our family. I didn't realize I'd start with a teenager. And I didn't realize how it might make me feel to have someone new in the house that wasn't a baby.

I quickly got over any fears I had (though, it didn't feel quick at the time), and just allowed myself to act and treat her as a parent would. I set minimal rules at first, and then modified those through the first few months. She wouldn't agree, but I have tried to give her the freedom of a teenager, while staying consistent with specific things (like being home at a certain time, asking permission and such).

She has made a few choices that will lead her down a slightly different path than I thought she might go, but she's still on target to graduate and to get into college. But along the way, she'll need to learn how to be a Mom on her own, as well. She's shown responsibility and I know she wants to succeed. I pray that she gives me the opportunity to continue to be her "Mommy". As I've told her many times... I'm in this for a relationship, not a title. I would be very happy if she continues to stay with us for as long as she wants, provided she follows the plan and rules we've agreed to. I don't say that to be 'conditional', only to say that she is an adult as of today and she can make other choices that could impact her living with us. Though, I don't have huge fear for that. Just need to be honest about how I feel. I will continue to show her love and mercy and think that Lil M would be sad if she wasn't with us. She has grown to be a part of our family, and even if she leaves, we won't stop loving her.

I pray that I will be writing another similar post about this next October. I hope she is with us that long. She wants me to be the baby's Mommaw, and that's what I will be. We'll have a shower for her this month, and I'm getting excited about that.

Who would have known all this would happen in 10 months of knowing her... she has made me a better Mom, because I listen a little closer to her and Lil M's needs. We have invited her family to her birthday and baby shower. We got the chance to go to T's nephew's birthday last week, too. I hope that we can join forces to help T succeed. That would be wonderful.

The funny thing is... it seems like she's been with us for a lot longer than she has. We have a nice little family and I am so thankful to God for that.



Laraf123 said...

You have made a wonderful, caring home for both girls. You're an amazing mother. Your plans for the future of your family do not seem conditional, they seem realistic. I hope this is a good week for all of you.

Tom in Vegas said...

Do extend a Happy B-day to T on my behalf.

Mama Melissa said...

thank you both! last night was fun... and i'll post pics tonight if i can. :)