When I found out that Lil Sis was in foster care, I refused placement. This was an unpopular decision amongst many of my friends & some of my readers. It wasn't that I didn't want her...after all, I had already spent 5 years worrying about her & wondering about her safety. However, I knew that adding a 5th child would be difficult even under the best of circumstances. After all, one person can only do so much. I also recognized that, while Beautiful is well adjusted, she still has some insecurities stemming from her time in foster care, which results in her feeling competitive with other little girls. Add to that the fact that Lil Sis had already been in a stable placement for several months & was very happy. They were a bit naïve about the red flags that I could see in her behavior, but they were starting to see that there were some deeper issues and seemed to be in positive about following my advice to get her therapy.
So, considering all the factors, I thought that the best solution was for her to stay in that placement, where there was more individual attention, and not further traumatize her by putting her through another move. After all, she could have her sister in her life, without being in the same home.
However, that option was taken off the table. So, I did what I thought was the next best solution. She came here.
I pleaded with the former fosters to allow a long transition, so that it wouldn't be further trauma for this little girl to overcome. Ultimately they decided against that. She was moved abruptly, with no real understanding that she was actually moving. She thought she was visiting us & would be returning to them. I still get told "I want my dads" every time she gets upset.
As it turns out, I was right in my concerns. Beautiful feels competitive with her & is acting out. Granted, it's not manifesting in behaviors that would raise eyebrows with most people. I keep hearing "that's just normal kid stuff", but I realize that it's indicative of a deeper issue that needs to be addressed. I've discussed it with Lil Sis's counselor & we will be trying sessions with the two of them together, and will later determine if Beautiful needs to begin individual counseling again.
I was also right about the fact that the move would be horribly traumatic for Lil Sis. Since she didn't understand what was happening, and she's had no contact with the former fosters, she has been left with this huge void that she doesn't know how to deal with. Since her CW is the one who moved her, even seeing the woman is hugely triggering for her. Every month, when she makes her visit, Lil Sis freezes & then spends about 2 weeks acting out and going through waves of grief and misbehavior before it levels out. Then, there's a small break...and then the CW shows up again. I've been trying to request a new worker, but I haven't been able to reach anyone at DHS for the last 3 weeks & they don't return my calls.
I knew that it would be difficult to bring her in as part of my family, and I knew that moving her would be traumatic. And I hate that I was right about those things...
I also knew that I love her & that I was willing to do the best I can to help her...and those things are true as well.
My fear, though, is that I am not enough. I keep hearing the nay-sayers, who were oh so vocal, saying that DHS shouldn't give a foster child to a woman who is already raising 4 other children, especially when she's also a working woman. The truth is, I had more energy & time to dedicate to meeting the children's needs when I was a stay at home mom. However, that's not an option, so I do the best I can...but I do worry.
I feel guilty that her tantrums drive me crazy & that sometimes I need a break. I feel angry that she is even in this situation, because DHS had the opportunity to prevent the hell that she endured. I'm mad as hell that DHS doesn't do their damn job & get back to me when I call them. I'm sad that there's not more that I can do. At times I'm overwhelmed, but at the same time, part of me feels like I don't have a right to be.
There's a voice in the back of my mind, though, that says that it will all work out & be alright. I pray that I'm right about that, as well...