Well. Not really too sure where to begin. It’s been over 2 weeks since the last post and oh my GOODNESS a lot has happened in that time. December arrived, as did the first frost…oh and 3 children. Arrggghhhh!
We got our ADM decision thingy on Friday the 25th and arranged to go and meet the kids that evening. (I need more emojis to accurately represent all the emotions!). Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to remember in amongst the rollercoaster of emotions that would follow, I wrote down what sensations the nervousness was creating.
Feel like my eyes are going funny (after driving the 10 miles or so), whole body is shaking inside, need the loo!, hot and cold at the same time, heart going fast, feeling a bit dizzy.
It’s strange how thinking back (2 weeks ago today!), I can feel it all again. It was such a strange position to be in. And pretty unusual for task-centred (short term) foster carers – normally you get the call, say yes or no, they arrive – all within hours/minutes. No chance for introductions or anything. It’s surreal though, meeting these kids who are going to come and live with you and who you’ll be caring for…but they’re strangers to you, as you are to them. Weird.
Anyway, we went in and…WOW they were excited! Hyper and bouncing, really excited to meet us. We did some playing, then did bathtime (to get rid of the ‘naked bogeyman’ as their then-foster carer said!) and bedtime, then spent an hour or so chatting to the foster carer. She told us more about the family and the kids, then we went home (and picked up a cheeky MaccyD’s on the way). And that was it, first meeting done.
That weekend, we had the kids for both days and dropped them at their foster carers in the evenings. Saturday was tough – we couldn’t bring them back to ours so we had to spend allll day out. Just ‘out’. Which meant for a full on, possibly over-stimulating day. This was when it hit home harder. I had a moment of, “Erm, I’m not sure I even want kids” as I began to appreciate the selflessness required to parent (whether corporately or otherwise). Over the next couple of days I continued to feel completely overwhelmed by the task before us. Like, seriously. It is HUGE and scary and daunting and hectic and…I just can’t find the words. At a training day last week I met another foster carer who’s 4 months in, and you just look at each other nodding in solidarity at being lost for words to describe it.
Over the last 2 weeks, there have been good days and bad days. Days where I feel swamped and have held back the tears til after bedtime, days where I just want to scream and run away, days where I’ve just been so tired that there’s no enthusiasm left. This paints a pretty dire picture, can you tell that today is a slightly miserable one?! ‘Glum’ would be the word I’d choose to describe how I feel today.
Far too much chocolate has been consumed in recent days…
There are good times, though. The chats in the car, colouring together, seeing them experience things for the first time (the shower has brought the most excitement so far).
Thing is…I find myself feeling…fed up. Argh, does that make me a rubbish foster carer?! Kids can be annoying, like seriously annoying (this I already knew), and when they’re there all the time…and you don’t have a whole lifetime of relationship and unconditional love to fall back on…it is HARD. Hard to choose to spend time with them, hard to choose not to lose your temper. It’s hard to choose to love them. And yes, it is a choice. For me, loving them isn’t coming easily. It has to be a choice, even – especially – when I’m finding them tricky. I care for them, I try to put their needs above my own, I play with them. And that is showing them love, of course. The ‘feeling’ of love may never come, which makes me feel awful, but love is more than feeling it. And for now, possibly for the duration of the placement, showing it will have to do.