Thursday, November 17, 2011
The Awful Not-Knowing of Foster Parenting
Mostly, I'm just thankful I didn't lose a finger. Every time I try to type or use the lousy voice-recognition app, every time I fail to fix my hair, every time I have to step on the kids' sippy cups so I can unscrew the lid with my good hand, I'm grateful that this is a wound that will heal soon, and life will go back to normal.
I'm not sure I can say the same for other parts of life.
I said before that whenever foster kids come to stay with us, for however short a time, they become our kids. When we think of them, when we say good-bye, it's to our kids.
But there are two who have taken that title to a whole new level. They've been with us four months, far longer than any of the others and a huge percentage of their lives. They have no idea that they might not stay with us forever, and they're too young to understand what that means, even if we were to explain it.
When I'm thinking logically, I know that whatever happens, they'll be fine. They're strong, smart kids who have many people watching out for them, people who are determined to see to their safety and needs.
And the kids won't remember this uncertain time in their lives.
We're weeks away from the next decision: return to their family, stay with us a while longer, or stay with us forever. There is no decision that makes everyone happy, and no one has a clue which one the judge will choose.
I tell myself that the horrible not-knowing, at least, will be over.
If they leave, I'll take some time off from foster parenting. I'll get to read and catch up on TV shows. For a while, my house will be clean, and my calendar won't be a mess of scratched out and rescheduled appointments.
And I can think of nothing sadder.