Disruption

Today we put in our two week disruption notice for AE, and I am heartbroken. I can’t believe we’ve failed another one. Part of me thinks that maybe some kids are so hurting and so sick that there’s nothing we could do to change the outcome for them…but changing the outcome is why I wanted to foster in the first place.

Is there such a thing as too late? Or a lost cause? I don’t know anymore.

Disruption is so horrible. I truly feel like a monster whenever we have to disrupt on a kid, because it always hurts them. A kid could be completely unattached and WANT to leave and leaving would still be damaging. I know that no matter how much we try to soften the blow, another small piece of that kid dies. No matter what we say, the message they receive is one of rejection.

I became a foster parent to try to help kids heal, not to become another wound. I’m apparently bad at it.

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End of our rope

R and I are pulling our hair out with AE. Most other kids we’ve had have at least started to accept our rules and structure by the 3 month mark, but not AE. We’re still having daily rages of screaming and cursing (over such indignities as being asked to help set the table or going to bed on time). We’re still having issues with hallucinations. And some things, like the stealing and lying, have gotten significantly worse. We’ve taken to locking our bedroom door if we’re not in our room in order to prevent things going missing.

To top everything off, little S idolizes AE, and is copying her behaviors. Hearing my five year old drop the f-bomb in frustration is not my favorite experience.

R says that he’s done and wants to disrupt. I’m trying to hold on at least until AE is admitted to a PRTF, because it would be infinitely worse for her to disrupt from us and bounce around for a month before being admitted. My hope is that she can go from here to a PRTF, and that the PRTF can help stabilize her to the point that we will be able to take her back.

I KNOW that this kid has good qualities. I KNOW that this kid has potential. But it’s buried so deeply some days that I have trouble seeing it.

Last night was one of the worst rages AE has had to date. For over an hour she screamed straight up abuse at me. According to her, I’m a worthless f-ing c**t, and I should kill myself before she does it for me.

I’m trying so hard to stay calm, show love, and not take it personally when AE rages, but it’s so hard. Last night, after I finally got her settled, I just sat in my room and cried. I’m tired and frustrated, and I don’t know how much longer I can hold on.

Teenagers are….like onions!

Take this clip from “Shrek”, replace the word “ogre” with the word “teenager”, and you’ve got a pretty fair analysis of my crew.

“They stink?” “Ohh, they make you cry.”

“NO! LAYERS.”

So many people are afraid of teens that there have even been songs about it (looking at you, my chemical romance!). And foster teens scare people even more. All of the fun of hormones and impulsivity with a heaping dose of trauma? Yippee! To be fair, they do stink and make you cry (no little white hairs after being in the sun though); but there really is more than meets the eye.

Most of my daily job consists of trying to peel back the layers of my kids in order to get to the kid underneath.

For example, AE got in trouble the other day. Her normal response to discipline is to freak the f**k out, which she did with gusto. So I’m sitting there trying to talk to her about the consequences of her actions, but soon I realize that I’m only working on a surface layer. Peel back the anger at the consequences, and you get a fear of being sent away. So I then work from that layer.

With my kids, nothing is ever what it appears on the surface. If you focus on the outer layers of an issue, you miss a lot of things. It can be really hard to remember that when you’ve got an irrationally angry person cursing at you at the top of their lungs, but it’s critical to find what’s hiding beneath the layers.

Onions are not for the faint of heart.

Weekend Visit from A2

A2 has been gone for more than a month now. No matter how much we’ve asked her to come home, she’s refused. Apparently, couch hopping and failing her all her classes is a better option than facing her fears. In this case, her fears include accepting love, accepting safety, and just straight up staying. I’ve written before on how scary and difficult it can be for kids who have never had any stability to actually stay in one place, and that certainly holds true for A2.

 

But, despite the fact that she refuses to come home to live, A2 has agreed to come home for a weekend visit. And I am terrified. I don’t know what she needs from me, and I don’t know how it’s going to be having her home. Plus, I’m honestly still angry and hurt from the way she left. R and I work so hard to try and create a place of safety and love, and she basically acknowledged it and then rejected it. On top of that, she really hurt the other girls as well. Little S especially doesn’t understand why her big sister just left, and I don’t know what to tell her because I don’t understand either.

 

In the bible we’re told how the prodigal son was treated upon his return…but what about when the prodigal daughter pops in for a weekend visit?

I just wish I knew how to put our family back together again.

Conflict

AE gives me so many conflicting feelings recently. She can stand there, with all the pent-up anger of 14 years of neglect, and be a raging wildfire that makes me want to go all murder/suicide on her. But in the same day, she can be so very sweet and gentle that my heart just melts into a puddle of maternal goo.

I’m just trying to hold as tightly to the good moments as I can, because despite AE having been here for two full months now, I do not feel at all connected to her. It’s terrible and it makes me feel like human garbage to admit it, but it’s true. I, who can form emotional connections to things like beetles, cannot seem to connect to my own foster daughter.

It’s really the rage that does it. It’s very difficult to form a connection to someone who was cursing and screaming at you ten minutes ago, no matter what that person is currently doing. AE carries so much anger (understandably so), that it is hard to see past it to the hurting child that she is.

Still, I’m trying. AE has moments that are are so, so sweet sometimes. For example, the other morning I was awakened by giggles, and went downstairs to find AE teaching little S to play a video game. And two days ago, she informed me that she wanted to do something nice for A, and asked me what I thought A would like.

This kid is so different from day to day, and even hour to hour, I’m having trouble pinpointing the kid underneath the feelings that she wears on her sleeve. Borderline personality disorder doesn’t go well with hormones.

We’re taking things a day at a time and hoping for a spot in a PRTF to open up soon. I don’t have the training or capability to be an emotional punching bag for a kid that I feel almost nothing towards. I really hope that the kind of intensive therapy that PRTF provides will help cut through some of the anger, and that the family therapies will help me to be a better mama to the real kid underneath.

Whirlwind heart

“You’re stupid!”

“You’re nothing to me!”

“You’ll never be a real parent!”

“Fuck you!”

“I hate you!”

All examples of things AE says to me that she wishes she could say to her bio mom.

And then, with a glare and a snarl, she tells me how angry it makes her that we haven’t sent her away yet. How much she hates that we picked her up from the hospital instead of just telling her worker that we’re done.

After the storm subsides and the tears come, she admits how alone she feels and how much she hurts. She tells me how much she wishes her mom would be a mom, and how worthless she feels. She cries and says she wishes that everyone would just hate her as much as she hates herself.

How will my heart ever survive this complicated, angry, hurting child? Lord, if You’re listening right now, please give me so much more grace and compassion and patience than I have. I am so not equal to the magnitude of her wounded spirit.