Getting Real

A few days ago I posted on facebook about it being our 17th wedding anniversary. I got a ton of replies back, with many Happy anniversary but I also got some saying what great parents we are, What a difference we have made to so many. What a blessing we are etc. The truth is many days I feel like an imposter. Our 17 year marriage has been much like a 17 year war. Not with each other but us fighting together for these kids.

When we got married seventeen years ago I had one daughter still at home. We decided to foster. We didn't want to foster, we wanted to be therapeutic foster parents. So we took kids that were runaways, kids that self harm and the kids with multiple diagnosis. While friends were becoming empty nesters, traveling and trying new things, our new thing was "how can we take one more"? We took kids that had been in multiple placements, out of residential treatment centers and out of TYC. This was both a challenge and very fulfilling for us.

All those years ago we never planned to adopt 18 kids, rather we felt that it was God's plan. We have had some great successes and some great failures. I'm hesitant to talk about our failures, not out of pride ( pretty sure I have none of that left) but out of fear of being a stumbling block to others that may be thinking about taking the really hard kids. There are so many that need good homes.

Last night as we were going into the third hour of a major melt down (the child not me). I had used all my parenting tools and nothing was working. Nothing left in my bag of parenting tricks and  Deahl was out of the house. I decided it was time to be real. We are not these great parents that have had all of these successes. We are flawed parents just doing what we can to survive. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking what am I doing wrong? What have I not tried? What is triggering this?
How is it effecting my other kids? What can we do different? Are we making a difference and what is going to be the outcome of all of this?

We take two vehicles every where we go so if there is a melt down I can bring one home without everyone coming home. Its less stress for everyone else. I sometimes feel more like a prison guard than a parent because I have to take the one with me everywhere I go because she needs and has to have that one on one. We make all of our plans around what ifs. Going on family vacation? What if?  Look up the closest psychiatric hospital. Someone has to stay close to home at all times. What if the school calls. We have a stand by baby sitter in case of emergency just for the one.

So next time you look at me and think I have it all together and I'm such a great mom the real truth is I need your prayers because what I really want is to curl up in a fetal position in my bed. The truth is I have a wonderful husband and partner, most nights we fall into be totally exhausted from the fight in the trenches. When we do have time alone together, (not often) we usually spend that time strategizing on our next move.

But God didn't call us to be a quitter and with God and each other we will get through this. So say a prayer for all foster parents, especially the ones that look like they know what they are doing. No matter how negative this post seems I would do it all over again, and yes with the same kids. They are what keeps me going.