With grief and after much, much thought and prayer, we have had to disrupt our foster daughter’s placement with us. She moved out on Friday.
Friday morning Erin and I packed up all of her belongings in boxes. Then that afternoon, her case worker came to the house and we loaded her things into the trunk of the car. We then drove to the school, where we called our own kids out of class to say good-bye, and went to her classroom to pick her up.
The six of us walked out to the parking lot. Then we gave her hugs and told her that we loved her and we would miss her. She got in the back of her worker’s car and we waved good-bye as they drove off.
We were all upset, and there were a few tears. After a few minutes and a few hugs, we walked the kids back into school where they returned to their classes and Erin and I drove home.
We made this decision because her anger had grown to a level we could not handle any more. Her fits of rage were daily, and sometimes multiple per day. Our kids had begun spending more and more time in their rooms, just to be away from her. She had brought them to tears with her hateful words several times. She had begun to hit Erin, threatened to bite, and at one time picked up a pair of scissors in the midst of her fit. She had broken things and done damage to walls and doors and furniture.
In between these fits, she was a very sincere, funny, sometimes even sweet little girl. She had absolutely no trouble at school or church. Her teacher really loved her. People at church are very surprised that we had to have the placement disrupted. She was making great improvements in reading and math, and liked doing homework a lot. She liked to paint and draw, and her favorite subject was big valentine hearts, which she drew on almost everything. Seeing other kids play piano, she liked to sit down and try to pick out tunes for herself sometimes.
But we had started to think of these periods as just time in between tantrums. And we were living in dread of what might trigger her next fit – being told it was bedtime, or that she couldn’t have a third doughnut, or that it wasn’t her turn on computer, or that she had to finish her vegetable before she could have dessert. It could have been just about anything.
It was clear to us that she needed much more care than we could offer.
And so this is better. It is better for us already, and the four of us are kind of coming out of our shell-shocked-ness a little bit these last few days. And we hope it is better for her, too. We hope she is in a place where her anger can be channeled, and where an environment that is a bit more controlled may provide structure that we were unable to give.
But maybe not. Maybe she is going to have an adolescence where she fights everyone she ever meets. Maybe she is going to decide never to let anyone ever love her. Ever. Maybe her life is going to be horrible.
Or maybe there was a seed planted in these last three months. Maybe there was a seed of “this-is-how-a-functional-family-lives” planted in her eight years of dysfunction, anger, and neglect. Who knows?
We feel pretty rotten about this whole deal, to tell you the truth. We feel like we failed. We feel angry at her parents for being really, really crappy parents. We feel relieved that she is gone from our household, and immediately feel guilty for feeling relieved. So we’re pretty mixed up right now, as you can imagine.
We are open to new foster placements, though. In fact, we got a call on the very day before she left, when we knew it was coming but it hadn’t happened yet. That placement ended well when they found a family member that could take the two sisters and our services were not required. We don’t hope for a placement, of course, because that would mean that a kid or kids have been taken out of their home, and that’s never a good thing. Rather, we are open to one, should one come up.
That is the latest in our foster family world. It is a difficult time, but we’ll be okay. We’d love your prayers of support and good thoughts. And if you would, keep all of our foster kids in your prayers, too. We love them all, and we always will.