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Thursday, 30 January 2014

I Hate Tuesdays

I haven't posted in quite a while. This past year has been more challenging than any of us ever imagined it could be. I started this blog with the hopes of writing something that resonates with other foster parents. I have never wanted to paint an overly rosy picture of the reality of being a foster family. And while I have always openly written about my frustrations with the brokenness of our CPS system, this past year has brought an even deeper awareness of how dysfunctional and corrupt our system really is. With that, has been profound heartache. I may blog about it someday, but probably not. So, while today's post has nothing to do with her, I am dedicating it to my forever baby girl. To my 3rd born, although not technically born unto me. Para Marisol, te quiero con todo mi corazon. Soy tu mama para siempre!

Now back to hating Tuesdays:

I use daycare. This is something that I have struggled with for some time now. As a stay at home mom, I do not need to use daycare the way that families with two parents working out of the home do. I also know that daycare is not an ideal setting for kids with attachment issues. So, it feels selfish to use daycare to get a break. But here is what I have realized, those breaks allow me to nurture my true whole self. It allows me to give equal importance to the parts of me that are not just a mom or foster mom or wife. And while sometimes, even that notion sounds selfish in my mind, I know that I am a better mom for it. I realize there are still those of you who vehemently oppose the use of daycare and that is all fine and good and I welcome you to keep those comments to yourself :) But for me, and for our family, this is how we make it work.

I have come to relish my days with breaks. And Tuesday is not one of them. Tuesday is the day all the kids are home and I get no break. Now, there are often other days of the week this also true, but Tuesday is the one day I can count on for sure. And it would be nice to tell you I use Tuesdays to plan fun activities and we have a fabulous time together, but you need to read my previous post on planning fun activities with no fun kids to understand why that is not the case. I do, typically, still plan activities because I am a glutton for punishment or I guess because I think it is still the right thing to do. But many Tuesdays, I am white-knuckling it through the day just waiting for it to be Wednesday already.

This particular Tuesday, I took the little girls to the mall playground. This is quite a typical Tuesday activity for us. And on a typical Tuesday, Shirley (3yo) will get to the playground, stand in the middle of it and blankly look around like she has no idea what she is supposed to do there. At some point, she will cry hoping to get the attention of other adults (she knows by now I will not respond to this ridiculous outburst). When that does not work, she often just lays down. Right there. In the middle of the playground. Kids are stepping or even tripping over her and she just lays there. Now, we have had Shirley for almost 2 1/2 yrs and she is now almost 4yo. So, in that time I have tried many things. I have showed her the slide, tried to help her onto the climbing structures, given her several ideas of how or what to do on the playground (as if the running screaming kids around her were not enough explanation), but she refuses. She tries everything she can to either get other strange adults to pay attention to her or to get my attention by behaving inappropriately and earning a time-out or something like that. It's maddening. I know it should break my heart that she would rather be in control of every second of her life than to just let go and run and have fun and be a kid. And it does. It does break my heart. But, it also frustrates me to no end.

But not this Tuesday. This Tuesday, Shirley ran off to play with the other kids. And unlike other times when I have been fooled into thinking she is going to play only to do something really inappropriate to get herself in trouble, she actually did play. She interacted with other kids, she went on the slide, she climbed through the tunnels. She was running and laughing and being a kid. She checked back to see if I was watching, she wanted to show me her little tricks, she smiled and had fun. And it was amazing. I am sure she went on to do all kinds of crazy stuff the rest of the day, but for those moments on the playground, she was a normal, happy kid. And I sat there in disbelief that it took over 2 yrs. for this little girl to do what every kid wants to do when they see a playground. It was an amazing sight, really. And it gave me hope for her future.

And it made me think about progress. It made me think about how often I felt we were getting nowhere with Shirley and how often I was so discouraged by that.

Then today, while being introspective about my own progress, not related to foster care in any way, an image popped in my head that suddenly made the connection for me. It was a large, stone wall. We often talk about the walls that hurting kids put up around their hearts and many of these walls can be huge. Even some of the smallest little ones have become masters at such masonry in their short little lives. They can build some really massive walls. And here I am chipping away at it, one teeny, tiny fragment at a time and it feels impossible. But it is not impossible, just ask Michelangelo.

So, there you have it, this extremely cynical person's message of hope for today. I truly wish it could be more.

Happy Not-Tuesday to you all!

P.S. Apparently my web browser hates me, or technically is not compatible with my blog, but whatever, we all know that translates to it hates me. But, I could not upload any pictures. So, imagine a picture of Garfield hating Tuesdays instead of Mondays and a picture of the statue of David for my stone wall illustration. Work with me people, you will just need to use your imagination until I can figure out how to get a web browser that doesn't hate me.


  1. This is an awesome story of perseverance and redemption. Thank you for sharing it. Since I work in licensing again I often see foster parents who use day care 10 hours a day while they stay at home. I know you don't do that and I so appreciate and respect your honesty and commitment to poor into the lives of otherwise forgotten children.

  2. As a therapist working with foster/adoptive/kin parents who are completely burnt out, I support and respect your decision and completely resonate with Mary's comments as well. I love, too, that you share such a poignant picture of your daughters (and your) journey on the road to healing. So important to see and celebrate every victory!

  3. Thank you for sharing the victory celebration! As a foster parent I completely understand your frustration working with a 'broken system' and agency 'issues'. We too have our share of hair curling stories about our interactions. We keep our eye on the reason for doing this though, the kids and somehow, no matter what bull-stuff gets thrown our way we seem to just take a deep breath and muddle through because those kids need us.

    Congratulations on your victory! May it ever be one of many.