fostering: two months in | Rachel Vanoven Blog

fostering: two months in

It’s been almost a month since my last blog, I’ve sat down a hundred times to write how we are doing now, but either the words wouldn’t come or there was someone who needed me. I finally have a little bit of time (knock on wood!) and just reading the last post feels like a million years ago.

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The first month, and even after that first post about the boys, there were some hard conversations between Nick and I. We argued and fought more in the last two months than ever before in our relationship. There is just so much that we simply weren’t prepared for–there was no WAY we could have prepared ourselves for the roller coaster we got on. From lack of sleep, nerves being shot from parenting five kids, schedules to keep up with…some pretty dark marriage moments happened. I won’t lie, there were conversations that actually involved giving up. Real conversations because we simply couldn’t do it. It’s one thing to fall in love with a child, and want to help them—and another thing to actually do that. Nick and I each have our “favorite” boy. I bonded fast to Dimples (FS5) where Nick felt like he understood Grizzly (FS2) better. So while it’s great that we each can manage one kid better, it’s the frustrations we each had with the one we didn’t connect with that drove a wedge between us.

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I can’t put my finger on what finally clicked…time, I guess. It’s such a cliché saying, but time really does heal all/most wounds. Slowly, Dimples came out of his shell for Nick. It wasn’t easy for him, he trusts slowly and loves fiercely, something I feel like we all can relate to in some way. But over and over I reminded Nick that none of his behaviors are his fault. He’s five. He didn’t ask for any of this. He is comfortable with us, says he loves us, but oh how he loves his mommy and daddy. Visitations are all day on Saturday and the best part of my day is watching him run into their arms. The worst part is bribing him into the car. The pain is etched on their parents’ faces and you can see it in their eyes. It’s awful. I can’t imagine only getting to see my children one day a week. So I think Nick finally got that part of it. If Josie, our five year old daughter, was taken from us…no matter how nice the house was or how lovable the people caring for her were, she would throw fits, she would be scared, she would do things that would frustrate someone who couldn’t empathize.

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Speaking of his parents, his mom and I have become pretty close over the last month. They are doing everything the court is asking them to do, and then more. To keep Grizzly bonded to his mama, we try to get together midweek every week for them to hang out. So not only have I been able to watch the boys grow and heal, but also their beautiful mom. Last week she texted me about possibly doing a Bible Study with me on these days together and I just can’t wrap my mind around how insanely amazing that is!

2015-02-15_0004 I did a shoot with their mom and Grizzly on one of our outings, the right picture is Grizzly swinging between our hands 🙂

 

There is a tentative reunification schedule their mom told me about, and we’ll be going to court this week to support their parents in mediation. So I look at these two foster sons of mine and have a thousand conflicting feelings. I love them both and my heart catches and breaks into a million pieces when I stare at their sweet sleeping faces sometimes. Right now I have a sleepy Dimples curled up at my side…rosy cheeked and puffy eyed from the nap he took on this lazy Sunday afternoon. I can hear Grizzly upstairs annoying Brynn and the friends she has over, and I realize that months from now, these moments won’t be my reality anymore. And that is hard to think about.

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But for now, we are living in the now. Embracing the craziness that comes with five kids. The messes, the laundry, the screaming, the tantrums, the McDonalds (gag, I know), the lack of sleep, the bartering, the “GET YOUR FIVE BUTTS IN THE CAR RIGHT NOW WE ARE ALREADY FIFTEEN MINUTES LATE!”, the lessons being learned by all of us, the patience I never thought I had, the kisses, the hugs, the tears, the accidents and spills, the laughing, the bed jumping…all of it. Some day, it will be just Nick and I, and this time in our lives, we’ll look back and say, “Did that really happen? Did we really sign up for that?” and I’m hoping we’ll get to see these boys grow into men. That we’ll meet their girlfriends/wives and hold their babies. But mostly I just want them to be happy and safe, and I’m thankful that for however long, we get to be a part of their journey through life.

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