Tonight, I wanted to write about my foster mom emotions as of right now while they are fresh. I am absolutely in love with this girl. I always wondered what it would be like to give birth and hold a sticky, newborn baby in my arms and all the emotions stemming from that moment. But I jumped right in with a 6/7 year old, and I have to say, I wouldn’t change it for the world. She is an incredible kid. I feel like a biased parent who always says that about her child, but I also know, I don’t just say things like that to say it. I am picky about my humans. I did not connect like this with the other kiddo in my care. But with “A” it was an instant feeling, even though I was a complete mess and incredibly stressed out the first time she was with me. There is just something about her, as my mom and I have discussed in depth. She’s very special and I think she will be an amazing human for this world if she’s guided down the right path.
People will tell you that in foster care, it can take a long time to sometimes bond and correct behaviors. With “A”, a lot of things have been corrected already and the bond was there immediately. I don’t know how the hell I am going to give her up to her mom who wound up nearly back where she started if the police hadn’t rearrested her.
The phone calls we have twice a week are excruciating. “A” doesn’t know what to say, bio mom is trying her damnedest not to weep and make more broken promises, and I am pretending on the outside that it’s all going down exactly as it should be for “A’s” sake, but inside I am dying that I was not the one to grow her and give her life.
I am saying some pretty deeps stuff here, so I want to remind you that I am still well aware of what I signed up for, and that, at the end of the day, she is not mine, and may never be. However, for now, I am soaking up as much of her beautiful existence as I can while I have her in my care. I work so hard every single minute to make sure my house is clean, my lessons are taught, her backpack is prepped, her hair is done, her dreams come true, her food is served, her smile remains, etc.
My greatest hope is that, even if I don’t have her for Christmas or even Thanksgiving, that her bio mom will still let me be part of her life. I often wonder if her mom’s pride will outweigh her comprehension of keeping a solid, stable family like mine in her life. She calls my mom grandma for a reason and asks for sleepovers with my parents all the time. And, at first, I was a little harsher on her like my dad was to me growing up but, recently, I’ve softened a lot more like my mom, realizing this is what “A” needs right now, now that we’ve bonded and know each other better. Her responses, depending on the night, are much better when I’m softer. I go back to my dad’s way when I am in lesson-teaching or behavior correcting mode, but find myself falling into the softer mode like my mom more often, and it’s been helping — most nights.
The closer my deadline gets, the more I just want to hug, kiss and snuggle her constantly. And, for those of you who know me well, know that I do not do well with people in my bubble. But when she reaches out for me, seeks my approval, requests my attention, and cries for my presence in the middle of the night, I want nothing more than to hold her forever in my arms (time stopped) and remind her that she is strong and beautiful and safe.
This is going to hurt so much, you guys. SO much. I don’t know what I am going to do when she is gone. I am to the point where I never want to leave this county, just in case she ever needs me again. If the opportunity for adoption opens up, you better believe I’ll be the first in line fighting for custody.
When I got “A” back the second time, my mom started telling her, “Love you!” as she would tuck her into bed and when they would part ways. It shocked me the first few times I heard it. Should I be saying this to her?! I’m supposed to be the mom!
One night, after some encouragement and recommendations from my dear, sweet friends, I had the courage to talk to Arianna about my love for her.
“Did you know that I want you to be happy all the time? And successful in life? And that I want what is best for you?”
“Did you know that that means that I love you?”
She put her fingers in her mouth, “No.”
“Well, it does. I love you. Is that OK?”
She nodded yes.
“Would it be OK, if I told you I loved you once in a while?”
She shook her head no.
“That’s OK. I understand. What if we came up with a code word? Could we say the code word in place of ‘I love you,’ and that be OK?”
She nodded yes.
“OK! What word do you want to use instead?”
“Lollipop. I like that! So, if I say, ‘lollipop,’ to you before school and before bed, you will say it back and know what it means?”
She nodded yes with a big smile.
“OK, cool. Lollipop!”
We have since switched over to saying, “I love you,” a couple weeks ago. The more I say it, the more I feel it. And I can tell it’s the same for her. Even with that wall of hers that I understand so well.
We often sing this song at my house now. Just thought you all deserved a little lollipop stuck in your heads, too.