Thursday, August 26, 2010

Are we the right place?

I find myself wondering that a lot. We are certainly better than the alternative that was available at moving time. And, we are certainly capable of teaching all of the things that need to be taught. But, are we really the right place?

And, does it matter?

Statistically, every move causes trauma regardless of the reason for the move. So, even if we are only the available place, does that make us the right place now that he's here?

A wanted to retrospect I'm able to see that her attachment issues were WAY worse than B's. But, I was prepared for it with B since he has the diagnosis. But, A was supposedly a "typical teenager". We fought it for awhile, but, then said that she gets to have power in her life and if that means that she wants to leave we should let her leave.

I think that B has been trying to tell us that he wants to leave. He's not quite as clear as A was. But, this time we're fighting it quite differently. Instead of explaining that we care for him, we explain what we can offer him and then tell him that he is welcome to leave if he wishes. It's a different approach and it feels weird, but, I also realize that he is going to have to leave sooner that he will really be ready. So, in some ways if he leaves earlier than that because he made an active choice to leave it might be less traumatic.

All that said, I don't think that he really wants to leave. I think it's some kind of test. I have no idea if we are passing.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I'm Hiding

B is in a foul mood today. I'm exhausted and had had enough several hours ago.

So, I'm hiding in my room at the moment, dreading the need to go back to interacting.

I can do it, right?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Learning that Love is Less Important Than Skills and Consistency

I've been thinking about love and attachment a lot lately. I've always believed in the importance of love and in the idea that "More than anything else we want to love and be loved." But, I'm learning that it's more complicated than I'd previously understood.

Yes, I yearn to be loved. Yes, I get a lot out of loving others. Yes, it is essential to me to develop loving bonds with my community.

Yes, I know that loving someone can be a choice and that you can treat someone you barely know in a loving way.

What I never fully understood before is just how damaged this part of a person can become. I've read about attachment disorders and I've read about people trying to establish attachments and I focused on that approach.

What I'm learning (sadly) is that if a child gets damaged enough and then gets old enough without developing the skill of attaching then they may not be well served by love. I cannot get past my core belief that internally, perhaps beaten down to a tiny speck, there is a part of them that still yearns to experience true unconditional love. But, that part has been so heavily suppressed and damaged that focusing on it actually creates more damage.

A told us that she hated us because we cared about her. We thought that we needed to break through and keep caring for her and telling her that we cared so that she would understand that love existed in the world. But, with B we are a little less naive, a little more sad and a lot more practical.

He doesn't need us to love him. We might think that long-term he needs people to love him, but, he will never be here long enough for it to be us. What he needs is us to be unfailing in pushing him to grow up and develop self-care skills. It's such a different way of thinking of our job as foster parents. And, it's hard.

I only pushed a little today, because I just didn't have the energy for it. But, everyday that I let go is one that I cannot use to help prepare him. Tomorrow, I must be stronger. Tomorrow, I must issue bigger expectations (than I did today) and make it clear that he must comply.

Natural consequences are often easy, but, it's also easy to let the wrong ones happen when I'm low on energy. I need to be resilient. I'm realizing that part of why I need loving relationship is that love is what drives me to work through exhaustion. For instance, my dog will get a walk regardless of the rest of my day. So, if B doesn't need love and if it's almost detrimental to work on the development of a loving relationship with B, I need to find another motivation for myself in order to ensure I that give him what he does need.

It's a sadder view of the world, but, I really do believe that it's a more realistic view for this teenager. He needs to learn to care for himself and to have a life that is more than sitting on a couch playing video games. I need to teach him those skills. He needs that more than he needs anything else.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Honeymoon is Over

At least it feels that way.