I've posted before about how much I hate visit days. My view of visits has become increasingly negative as the months have gone on. As the parents choose to do less and less to get their children back, refusing to even keep up with the progress they've already made, my desire to put my foot up somewhere I shouldn't seriously consider putting my foot increases ten-fold. I know I don't get it. I don't know where they are... and I am THANKFUL for that. But, gee whiz folks.. it ain't rocket science.
My Rad"ish" kid suffers immensely due to this back and forth game. Just when I feel we're making good progress in our attachment, a visit happens, and we start COMPLETELY over again. Or, more recently, a parent cancels a visit... last minute.. with no warning. Total heartbreak. Can I tell you how many pee accidents this poor kid had, both here and at school, due to that shock? The stress they feel must be so overwhelming... it is so difficult to be so helpless to control these situations when all I want to do is have healing.
Today, as I talked to a friend that just got a new foster placement in her home, that is likely to be a RADling as well, I thought back to where we were just a few months ago. We really have made progress, though living with this day to day, it can sometimes seem like we've been at a standstill this entire time.
For the MOST part - bathroom gross-ness has gone away. It is at least much less. It did resurface for a few days after one seriously stressful visit, but, we just had the child clean up the bathroom each time, and it quickly went away. Praise God... lemme tell ya.. you don't want the bathroom gross-ness issues.
Destruction of property has gotten much, much less. Scissors can be used again - WITH constant supervision. Same with writing utensils.
Lying - not as often, but one of the harder things to extinguish so far. Thankfully we're no longer thought of as the village idiots by this child and we've learned how to avoid triggering more lying. You know - because foster kids lie.
Our current struggles involve major whining, annoying chatter, over-reacting to perceived wrongs done, and mainly all sins of the mouth. (excluding cussing... thankful for that one.) We now have a "no one can talk until we get out of the van rule" for after school. It takes us about 5 minutes to get home after I pick everyone up, and those 5 minutes can be the most torturous minutes in our entire day if I allow one of the kids to make a single sound. Because that sound will be made over, and over, and over again. No matter how nicely the other kids ask, "Please, stop." I don't quite understand the thrill of driving everyone totally batty - but it evidently exists. Once home, we have mandatory outside playtime. I've managed to make this fun and not feel like a punishment - and it's really pushed us forward in our bonding as a new family.
Things aren't all nuts around here. We've made some larger strides recently in the attachment department with said Rad"ish" kid. I've figured out that the best time to try to bond with them is when we're outside, doing something like biking, throwing a ball, or even just running crazy. Burn off some frustration, have some fun, act like a fool in a good way... good stuff when you're often struggling to look at a child with eyes of love and not eyes of annoyance. Give it a go yourself!
Some days it can feel like we've come so far, and the very next, it can feel like day 1 all over again. I sat down today and thought about specific times I was so overwhelmed with these crazy behaviors in months past, and realized how we really have made it through a lot of muck already. If we can ever get past this child's guilt over being happy here, and starting to bond with us, I think we'll be in a great place. How hard it must be to feel like you're betraying your own mother... if you begin to love the one mothering you now.