Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Dancing Baby Girl Weekend

We had Dancing Baby Girl for the weekend again this weekend. She is the former foster daughter we had for almost 3 years from the time she was 9 mos old until just after this past Christmas. We have a good relationship with the birth parents and we see her a couple of times a month. Her case is the main reason we have stepped back from foster care after 19 years. Our anger and despair over the state's actions is making us seriously consider our continued participation in the foster care system.

We cherish the time we get to spend with Dancing Baby Girl and look forward to her visits, even though she is a 3 yo with major attitude issues. It is the return to parents that is just so hard, she doesn't want to go back to them, she considers us her home and her family and she does not understand why she can't stay with us. Each visit as the time to go back approaches she starts to plead, "I stay here with you, Mommy, I love you, I be good girl", then she starts to scream, "I no go," etc. At this point she usually tries to run and hide or she starts to tantrum and gets destructive of her toys. Most days it advances to her attacking whichever of us is trying to gather her up and get her into the car, she is screaming, clawing. kicking and trying to bite. After she is buckled into her car seat though is the worst, then she slumps there in despair with quiet tears coursing down her face and looks at me with the most hurting eyes imaginable and whispers to me "I love you Mommy."

We really thought this transition would get better as she developed a relationship with her birth parents and to some degree it is getting better. She is no longer plagued by extreme abandonment anxiety where I can't get out of her sight and she no longer has terrible nightmares. I was hoping she would be able to feel comfortable enough with her birth parents that she would not see us as a loss but them as a gain.

Sometimes I question whether this is even good for her, to continue to see us and be at our house for visits? Would it be easier for her if we just disappeared from her life? She had such extreme RAD issues when she first came to us, I was her 4th official placement (that is a long and sad story for another post) and she had been passed around among family members since birth. And we were really able to overcome much of the damage and develop deep reciprocal relationships with her. What damage would it do for us to be seen as abandoning her also?

But you know, it is about me also. I don't know how many more of these scenes I can take, each time my heart is ripped out of my chest and thrown in pieces to the floor. It takes me days to recover my emotional equilibrium. I need to move forward myself. I hate the incredibly helpless feelings and overwhelming sadness that overcome me at the end of each visit. My baby girl trusts me and loves me and I have to make her go live where she doesn't want to go. OUCH.


Susan said...

This post has me in tears. We are in almost the same situation (you read a bit on my blog). Our foster daughter of one year has returned to bio mom - after we were told they would most likely terminate her rights and we were assigned an adoption worker. We were also adopting her 5 year old sister who was moved to our home when the county asked if we would be willing to adopt her to keep them together. They returned them a few months later. I am happy you still have contact too. We are the weekend family for now. Bitter-sweet I think.

I really understand your concerns and feelings. But your family provided that Dancing Baby Girl with the chance to love and attach to you - hopefully she will learn to attach to her parents too. Only through your stable home and love did she learn what parents really are. I am so sorry for your loss and I will pray that time and the Lord will help heal some of the pain. You sound like a wonderful family.

quilted family said...

Thank you Susan,
We have been foster parents for 19 years. During that time we have helped many children return home, transistion to adoptive placements, or step out into the world on their own, but this particualr case ripped us to pieces.
I still can't blog about the whole experience as the flames of rage would eat my computer.
But with God's help we are slowly healing, I am less concerned with our ability to deal with it all than with Dancing Baby Girl's emotinal health. I am an adult, I can at least comprehend some of this on a rational level, she is just devestated and it has been just over 3 months. I have been hoping for more peace for her, maybe I am hoping for things to move too quickly.
I am looking forward with joy to tomorrow when we get her again.
May God's peace be with you.