On Not Being Heartbroken

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We said goodbye today. The three small people that have been in our lives for 5 1/2 months are now no longer our responsibility. A week of introductions and today we dropped them off (along with half of our house) and said goodbye.

There were some tears and sad faces, but once we were at their new place, they were pretty giddy and rushing around, excited to be there. It went as well as it could have done – they’re happy to be there, if a little sad to leave us behind.

It’s not a ‘forever goodbye’. Their new foster carers are happy for us to still be a part of their lives so we’ll see them in a month or so. Middle Small Person asked last night, “Will we see you on Sunday?” No, not that soon. “What about Monday?”

Many people have expressed concern for us. “It must be a real wrench for you” “Are you holding up ok?” Sympathetic faces and arm squeezes seem to communicate the general accepted fact that we must be finding it really hard to say goodbye. It must be heart-breaking, we must be missing them and really sad to see them go.

Sorry guys. No heartbreak over here. Don’t get me wrong, I cared for them and definitely loved them, but I am not devastated that they have left. Contrary to almost everyone else’s experience (seemingly), I am actually feeling positive. Happy, enjoying the lifting of responsibility and stress. Will I miss them? Hmm. Possibly? Perhaps too early to tell.

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More Fruit Please

It happened again. The temper lost, voice raised, fingers pointed, sarcasm out. Yes, apologies may have followed, as well as desperate crying once they’re in bed (from me, not them), but can that really erase the fact that I just cannot hold it together when they push my buttons at the moment? There was a time when I seemed to remain calm in the face of it all…not this week.

Yesterday, I actually told one of them to shut up. Like, seriously. I just shouted, “WILL YOU JUST SHUT UP!!” Tonight, it was, “YOU ARE WRONG” and “HOW DARE YOU LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT” (petulant or what 😦 ).

I find myself wondering what’s wrong with me… Why do I get so frustrated? Why can’t I just stay calm? I am the grown up after all, it’s my responsibility to control my emotions. I’ve even googled, ‘How to control my temper’ and wonder if I need to go on some sort of course. I never want to be physically aggressive but I am more and more aware that when I have a short fuse, it is very short. I do not want to be that sort of person. Unpredictable, fly of the handle…please God, no.

Oh yeah, God. Have I given Him any headspace in all this? The One who actually knows the trajectory of these kids’ lives, who can actually change me? The One who sees my heart and all that I’ve thought, said and done, yet loves me and forgives me? Have I cried out to Him in anguish and prayed for His mercy and help? No, no I haven’t.

I’m not saying He’ll ‘fix’ me and make it all better straight away. But the Bible tells me that He will shape and change me to be made in His likeness. God’s Spirit living in us will bear fruit; fruit of the Spirit, not fruit of Me and My Great Efforts. Only He can make me a more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, good, faithful, gentle, self-controlled person. And He will do that as I live by the Spirit, trusting Him with each day, hour and minute (or, in my case it needs to be seconds…seriously, the fuse is short).

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Hmm not where I thought I’d end up, to be honest. I was fully expecting a woeful, distraught post bemoaning my failures and foibles. Praise the Lord for a much needed change in direction 🙂

A Bumpy Ride

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The cutlery shelf after I slammed the dishwasher closed one morning. Not my finest moment.

Here we are again, back in Negativity Land (or Reality, whichever you choose to call it). It got pretty bad, like crying every evening bad, then we got some respite, which helped. Then it was even worse after that (to be expected). Slight improvement this last couple of weeks, but we’re on the verge of a final decision about the kids’ future, probably not the one they want, so things are likely to get pretty messy.

As usual, the kids’ behaviour isn’t the problem, it’s my attitude and response. I have shouted far more than I care to admit, I have let my frustration show too easily without taking a step back to breath. I’ve been watching lots of videos, reading articles, trying to let advice and encouragement sink in. I’ve examined myself and my emotions, which can be pretty uncomfortable (try saying, “I just don’t want them in our lives anymore” and not feeling like the most uncaring person on the planet) and am endeavouring to change my interactions from ’emotional’ to ‘conscious’. I desperately want them to feel safe, loved and protected, but I have no idea if I’m conveying that to them.

All the while, the uncertainty of the future looms over us. They could leave within a week (highly unlikely), a month (very unlikely), or a year (looking more likely every day). We are not their long term solution, and as going home is increasingly unlikely (oh did I mention it changed? After expecting them to leave within a few weeks, the social worker changed her mind) finding long term foster carers for 3 children aged 8, 7 and 6 is hard. I mean, one child for at least 10 years is a lot to commit to, let alone three. And whilst they don’t present with any huge behaviour issues, they are kids, and there are three of them…

I’ve been reminded in the last week or so that this is not the kids fault. They did not ask for this. They wholeheartedly do not want to be in fostercare. That doesn’t make the rudeness and disobedience OK, but it does change one’s perspective on and attitude towards it. And as that all ramps up a gear in the next few weeks (just in time for the Easter holidays…greeeat) if they’re given the news today, we need to be there for them. Not correcting them (which I am far, far too quick to do), not yelling at them, rather loving and listening to them as they deal with the prospect of not returning home 😦