Honeymoon

Everyone talks about the foster care placement or adoption “honeymoon.” The period where the kids aren’t comfortable enough or trying to impress their new family so issues are hidden. We never had a honeymoon period. We’ve been dealing with crazy issues from the start. The last month and a half have been ROUGH. Just when I think we’re turning the corner the craziness comes back up. We just finished with Spring Break, visiting my mother in law in Virginia and my family in North Carolina. The kids were a train wreck. We expected, because their schedule and routine is all messed up and their anxiety gets the best of them. Also, since we are in a new place and not at home, they test us to see what they can get away with.

I was hoping it would all go away when we got home. But today was tough. Anne tried to erase her homework from her assignment book, even though I can look it up online and always know what her homework was. This isn’t the first time we’ve had this issue (it probably is not even the 10th time, we consistently have this issue). Huck peed his pants at school today. Scarlett made me repeat my requests about 25 times a piece before she landed her butt in bed.

It’s just exhausting. I’m worn out from their shenanigans. I just want to have fun! I want to enjoy them and laugh and play. But it all gets ruined by someone having a meltdown or being rude or getting aggressive with each other.

I think it’s also really hard because I don’t feel attached. There are moments, but I’m still working on my attachment. With cooking and cleaning and helping with homework and making sure that four children have brushed teeth/showered/changed it’s tiresome and it’s really hard to dote on a child when they are pushing back at you, 150% against everything you ask of them. When you have to ask a whining, crying child, when you plead with them, to get their homework completed so that they can play, where do you find the love? Where do you find the compassion? It’s so difficult for me to feel sympathy for a child when they repulse at anything I expect of them/rules/instructions. When they lie to my face about inconsequential things. When they antagonize their siblings so that no one can enjoy themselves. It’s just really difficult to fall in love with someone that doesn’t want your love. Who doesn’t understand that you are trying to show them real love. It’s like dating a guy and you bake him cookies and he hates cookies. So you make him muffins and he hates muffins even more. So you bake him a cake and he swears in your face. That’s what it’s like trying to love these kids. They don’t want it, or try to convince themselves that they don’t want it, and they test you to see if you’ll keep loving them when they consistently do things that they know they aren’t supposed to do. Over and over again like Groundhog Day. And you’re trying to keep positive and live life and wade through it, but they keep pulling you back in this crazy trauma vortex. Sigh. I’m not sure that makes sense but those of you who have adopted might understand!

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4 thoughts on “Honeymoon

  1. Sending you a great, big hug! This is perfectly normal for foster / older adoptive kiddos, though that doesn’t make it easier. It’s not you! How’s your support network / therapy these days? An essential part of fostering/adopting older kids is ensuring you’ve got folks who get what it’s like to give your all to someone who turns around and rejects you time after time.

    Although it doesn’t feel like it, these months of testing are part of the bonding. How many years of heartbreak formed your kiddos’ current life perspective? It takes a long time to undo all of that pain, clear out the shadows from their hearts and make room for the affection you have to offer. But slowly you are chipping away at their beliefs that life is cruel and no one can be trusted. Day in and day out, you are living the truth that life can be good.

    It’s ok to feel fed up. Find someone to listen to how hard this is, to get how hard you try. Then get right back into the day-to-day. You can do it!

    • Thank you! Deep inside I know that I feel what you say, that we are chipping away. It’s just the daily struggle that overtakes us sometimes! And I do need to work on that support system… my friends have kids but they are biological! Thank you for your help!

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