Last week I shared about the loss of my brother, which happened just a few years ago. Today I want to share another part of my life. Both these things overlapped and happened prior to me starting this blog. However, they both were major factors in finally deciding to start a blog. They made me see that I couldn’t keep putting things off that I wanted to do. I needed to take the challenge of trying something new, even if it scared me. Otherwise I would look back and wish I had always done it.
Actually, today’s post explains THE MAIN REASON I have not shared my real name or photo of myself. Sometimes in life, when so much is known about you by strangers, you just want to keep a bit of privacy. Even if nothing is ever truly private. However, my desire to share my love of gardening, canning, and other usually related topics overpowered my desire to withdraw as much as possible. After a while of thinking about it, using a pseudonym seemed to be the best way to have my cake and eat it too.
Granted, a friend or two knows about the blog, and who I really am, but most people in my life don’t. (Though after this post, I’m pretty sure they will figure it out if they see the posts shared on social media sites.) Yes, it means I don’t have as many readers since word of mouth through family and friends doesn’t happen. What it does mean is that I can share some stuff without having to worry about particular people knowing those details.
Back in 2009, my husband and I decided to become foster parents. Why? That is a complicated question to which I will give a simple answer – there were a variety of things that led us to the decision. Oh, you
need want more? It would take more than a few posts to explain it. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t a clear cut idea from the beginning of our marriage. We took the scenic route to get here.
The journey began with finding who to be licensed through, followed by: papers to fill out, home study to complete, finger prints to give, physicals to be obtained, and a 9 class course (one day per week over 9 weeks) to be taken. In the homestudy, we had to tell about out histories, our families, medical issues, financial status, job histories, and so on. They even asked about out philosophy on education. If that one sounds easy to you then try sitting down and writing a few sentences on what your’s is and share it in the comments. I would be curious to hear what others come up with.
I’ve also learned so much about myself. At the time I thought there was nothing I couldn’t handle. Yeah, I was wrong. It has been a tough road filled with pot holes and bumps, as well as hills with fantastic views of things to come and watching little gardens bloom.
First Kid moved in several months after we started the process. A few weeks later, Second Kid moved in. Week later, Second Kid moved out and I felt like a failure. Looking back it was a good thing, for all of us. I didn’t say perfect. The kids at the time were teenagers. They knew who they were, or thought they did. Just like you may not be able move into some random stranger’s house and fit into their family, these kids can’t always either. Not a bad thing, just the way it is. I learned to ask more questions and be more honest with myself. To reevaluate what I could and couldn’t handle, as well as what would work in our home for both us and the kid/s.
-10 pounds, extremely stiff muscles and two months later I had my next realization: I wasn’t handling the stress to well. Instead of letting it out and relaxing, I was stressing about everything, holding it all in, and trying to make it all “perfect”. Yeah, didn’t work. What did work was constant prayer, sharing my struggles with a trusted confidant, several visits to the chiropractor and joining a gym. Getting time to take care of myself and read a book really helped.
Fast forward several more months and I had yet another feeling of failure as First Kid moved to a different home. I again mentally blamed myself.
After a while, I learned more details from a case worker friend, which showed me that the blame did not reside fully on my shoulders. How is it that seeing others not be able to handle what you couldn’t handle can actually make you feel better? It wasn’t that I wished for others to not make it work, it was just reassuring to see that I wasn’t so wrong on how I thought things really were. Was I happy for First Kid? No. I was sad. Sad that instead of having a stable home and family upon which to rely as high school was ending, this kid chose to push everyone away and live a double life – one to your face, church family, therapist and case workers and yet another to friends at school, strangers, and online. I was hopeful that in the end First Kid would go back to live in the area of extended family to find stability. That is exactly what happened after a long detour. Of course, you can’t tell a teenager that you know how their life will look in a few years. They already thought we didn’t know anything.
My husband and I learned to breath again. Without all the daily stress of just living life with a teenager you don’t really know but are responsible to take care of, we came to realized how much unspoken stress there had been floating in the air at home. Like any stressful time in your marriage, it had been affecting our relationship. We had even given up date nights and had a total of one weekend away together in 6+ months of First Kid living with us. That weekend resulted in more headache than it has been worth, so we didn’t do it again.
We worked to at getting back to our ‘normal’ and enjoying our time together. No more worries about lying, or a kid hurting themselves, or someone getting pregnant, or any of the multitude of other things imagined or otherwise that were going through our minds.
After the first two foster kids, we began to question whether we really wanted to do this again. The answer was “NO”. Very clearly … until over 6 months later when we got a call.
to be continued ….
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