Until recently, I've never considered respite care, but it seems like it may be only way to keep going, at this point.
I know a lot of people didn't understand my hesitation to take Lil Sis into my home. It wasn't for lack of caring about it; it was the opposite, in fact. I knew how devastating another move would be for her; and I knew how overwhelmed I already was with the responsibilities that I already had. However, when the last foster family made the choice to have her immediately moved, I did what I truly believe is best for both sisters.
The grieving process has been so hard on Lil Sis. In fact, she's actually kind of stalled in this state of confusion & emotional chaos. It's not the same as losing someone to death. Then, you know they can't come back. In this case, she knows they are still out there. They're still in the same house, living their daily lives as a family...only, without her in it. She doesn't understand why they won't let her call them; why she can't send them letters. Quite frankly, I don't understand it either. I try not to judge, as I know they were upset...but it's difficult not to be angry at them selfishly choosing their own comfort over her best interest.
I've actually been quite overwhelmed & depressed lately. The primary support that I've counted on in the past (and the only people approved to keep Lil Sis for overnight visits or emergencies), my parents, want her moved out. They didn't even want me to try to help her...just move her out so everything can get back to normal. Isn't that the same thing the last family did? The acting out can be difficult...but it's not worth throwing her away & causing the damage that it would cause to her.
I'm also dealing with the custody battle for the baby (well, he's not a baby anymore. He's almost 2). His father doesn't want Lil Sis living with his son. He said she has issues & he's afraid that she's going to be mean to our son. She's never endangered my lil man, but I do try to make sure there is constant supervision. Still, it's not enough. He has been threatening to call the state & make reports until they pull her out of the house. If she's still in the home when we go for trial on the final custody orders, he promises to use my allowing her to stay as proof that I can't provide an appropriate home for Lil Man. I'm sure, though, if he is successful in getting her removed, that he will use the removal as evidence that I somehow did something that makes living with me not in Lil Man's best interest. So, it's a catch 22.
So, I feel like I'm constantly fighting just to keep my little family together, but I'm also in a constant battle when I'm with them because of Lil Sis's acting out. Since my back-up care no longer can be counted on...& it's next to impossible to find a babysitter for 5 kids, I have no break. So, I've gotten caught in this cycle of just getting by & have become increasingly isolated.
I have friends who think the solution is to fix me up. Honestly, though, even if I managed to find a way to go out on a date, I don't think I have anything left to give. I simply don't have the emotional energy to put into a relationship (or even the potential for one). So, there's no point.
I've been trying to stay positive, but even I know that it's impossible to keep this up for much longer. I've been searching for any solution that can help. At this point, respite seems to be the only option that's left. Hopefully it can give me a break on occasion, so that she can work through some of this in therapy. At the therapist's recommendation, the CW is going to try to talk to the former fosters to see if they will open to letters or phone calls so that she can hopefully be able to move forward in the grieving process.