Much has changed in 2 years since I last wrote. We had another couple of placements, they left and we quit being foster parents.
In October of 2012, I felt I was still in need of a break, but got a call and accepted a teenage boy. I figured he could take care of himself pretty well by this point, but knew it would change the dynamics in the house. It certainly did.
Then a week later, a fellow foster parent desperately needed 2 young boys out of her house whom she had had for 6 months, due to having several other children, working full time and a husband that got deployed via the National Guard. I had babysat (done respite) for these boys a couple of times, and she wanted me to take them. I said yes, and it was approved, so went from having my son to having 4 sons. The little ones were 5 years old and 20 months old when they arrived.
I was suffering from some health issues, and the stress of these children didn't help. Ten months later, they did leave - the teen aged out, stayed another 6 weeks then moved out on his own; the boys went to their dad in a different state. It was a poor ending for reasons I won't discuss here, but I admit it was a relief. I grieved for the loss, yet treasured the silence in the evenings. I missed them all and tried to maintain contact. As usual, that was short lived due to circumstances beyond my control.
For the past 6 months, so about a year after they left, I have felt almost back to my real self again. I find myself longing to have more children in our home, but refuse to foster for my county anymore, even if it were an option. If we ever take more children into the home, it will be adoption only, or foster-to-adopt through a private agency.
I have used this time to focus on my own son, getting him the therapy he needs, and homeschooling him. I have renewed my focus on healthy eating, and am getting proper rest. My husband and I have renewed commitment to each other, and time to talk, even time for dates! Dates were nearly impossible for more than a year, and that did take its toll on the marriage, and our individual health.
I don't regret fostering, even the last 3, because I learned a lot about myself and what I can and cannot handle. I learned more about the foster system, and why it isn't a good fit for us anymore. I learned the dangers of letting teenage boys live in your house, and won't be making that mistake again, unless they are my own.
There is much more I could say about those months, but its a chapter I need to leave behind and rehashing it here isn't likely to help anyone, or give them a good view of foster care. I don't want that, because those kids need homes. Good, loving homes, where at least one parent can pour herself into them, caring for them as her own. If you think it might be for you, contact your local child welfare office (Department of Community Based Services or some such name) and ask for information. Or search the web for non-profits in your area that work with DCBS to place children in qualified homes. If nothing else, find a couple of foster families, and be their friend. They need friendship and support more than anyone!
I don't know that I'll post on this blog anymore, but do check out my homeschooling blog at Windy Hill Homeschool!