The first little bit of a new placement with foster care is always a roller coaster for all parties that are involved.
Of course, the kiddos are going through extreme trauma; being removed from all they’ve ever known by some strangers, then taken to some other strangers’ home and told that they’re going to be staying there, all while not knowing why they’re there or why they can’t be home. All that anyone tells them is that they want them to “be safe” but they don’t really even know what that means. They have all different clothes now which may or may not actually fit. Their blankets smell different, the food tastes different, the toys sound different, and everything is just different.
Our kids normally start off timid, begin to warm up when they realize it’s like a play date, then at some point it starts to sink in that they’re here. Not at home. And they haven’t seen their mom in a long time. And they just want to go back to what they knew. The length of time it takes to get there is different every time, but they all get there. No matter how bad the situation they came from was, they always, always get there. When they do, it comes out in different ways. Aggression, tears, screaming, whining, overeating, not eating, self-harm… I could go on and on. All behaviors that are just tough to work through with them.
Just as all our kiddos process through it all differently, I process through all that’s going on differently as well. The first couple of days are fun. They are like a playdate for me, too. It’s exciting, its busy, its full of newness and joy. Our community rallies around us and provides everything we need in abundance and it feels amazing! The honeymoon phase… its special alright!
I’m typically good at relaying facts to people when they ask. I usually hold it all together just fine; rattling off the information I have about their story. I can do it all without much emotion wrapped into it which I think is a result of doing this for as long as we have and hearing as many absolutely awful details and stories that we have. But at some point, I break. Tonight it happened to be when I am functioning on verrrrry little sleep, when our girls were breaking down because their little lives have been turned upside down as well, when our boys didn’t know what to do, I just couldn’t handle it all, and I caught a glimpse of the bald spots on the boys’ heads.
Those little bald spots are from this afternoon when I took them to the doctor for their mandatory visit within 3 days of placement. The doctor had to take hair samples for follicle testing to find out whether or not drugs are in their systems. Drugs. In these toddlers. Because they could potently have been around the cooking of drugs. Those little bald spots happened after our littlest guy so bravely laid on the doctors table with a ruler framing every last bruise on his tiny little body while the nurse took pictures to document it all.
Those little bald spots are totally invisible to the boys, but they are totally visible to me. They cause me to replay the bits and pieces of information that I have gained over the last few days about their whole three and four years of life, over and over and over again in my head, trying to make sense of it all. They cause my heart to break every time I see them. They cause grief and anger all in one. I get mad at bio mom. My heart breaks for bio mom. I get mad at Satan for causing so much pure evil in this world. I praise God that He has saved these two little boys. I question if we should keep putting our girls through this. I know without a shadow of a doubt that our girls are as empathetic and caring as they are because of us being a foster family. I pray and pray and pray and just cry.
The tears eventually dry up. We all keep going. The roller coaster continues. And those little bald spots will grow hair again soon.