Sunday, October 28, 2007

Are We Done?

I don't think so, but we talked about it.

Of course we always talk about it, especially after a difficult ending.

When we had Carl we hadn't really planned on taking any more kids. When he moved out I thought I would like to do respite care, and maybe we would do another, but I wasn't sure. I had known Carl for years before I became him mom. The idea of taking in a kid I didn't know was very anxiety-producing.

Then things were so difficult with Ann. That ending was so hard, so brutal. We both wanted to crawl into a shell and never come back out again.

But we did, and we got David. For the first year and a half it was wonderful, then again, the ending was difficult. My response, though not so much Hubby's, was "I do not want it to end this way. I need to have a placement with a happy ending."

And of course I got that with Evan. Oh, our story with Evan is not over, but the point is that the placement ended well.

And after Evan left I was just wanted a break and then another kid.

As soon as Frankie moved in though I felt like maybe I was over-committed. I don't mean that at that time I thought he was too much -- just that I now had SIX kids. I know, compared to a bunch of people who blog that's nothing, but it seemed like quite a few to me: too many birthdays to remember; too many Christmas presents to buy; too many children who may legitimately need something of me.

In general, I am more enthusiastic about doing care than Hubby is. At one point years ago he said that he viewed this as "my calling" and he felt obligated to support me. I wanted it to be our calling, and with Frankie it was.

Now he is again suggesting that maybe we should be done, maybe Brian needs us to be done, which is an odd thought because prior to Frankie moving in Brian's needs weighed towards having another kid. Not that we had any illusions that we would get a child who would be a companion for Brian (anyone else nauseous at the thought of "getting" one child to meet the needs of another?), but just that Brian had grown up in a crowded house. How strange and lonely would it be not to have anyone to fight with? And maybe this is as many young adults as we are meant to be responsible for.

And for the first time since Ann left, I am wondering if he is correct. Maybe it is better to have a bedroom open for all the boys when they want or need to come home for a visit. Maybe it is time to say, "this is our family."


Hubby said yesterday that maybe they won't need us anymore. They are working harder to train all foster parents to be open and accepting; a home particularly for the GLBT kids might not be necessary -- and Hubby has always been clear that his motivation is his perception that those kids need us in particular.

I can imagine being done. I can imagine Brian being the only child in the home through high school. I can imagine giving him more dedicated attention, or at least being willing to be.

I wonder, what would I do with all that time and energy if I didn't not have a needy kid in the house?

The thought frightens me, and excites me.

But no decisions need to be made until next spring. Right now we are a licensed family and if they come up with a kid they want us to consider we will. The decision will be about that child. Next spring we will have to decide whether to sign the paper requesting that our license be renewed. Right now, I think it would be difficult to turn it in.

I'm glad to know that it will be more than six months before I have to decide. I won't be tired and grieving then. I'll be able to make a clearer decision.


  1. Truthfully, I'm more than a little envious of your position. I wish I could be in a place where I could say I was done if I wanted to be.

    But of course the grass is always greener in someone else's pasture.

  2. I hear ya, but my money's on you calling the SW by mid-Feb begging for another.

    They say once its in your blood, you just can't let it go.

    And you know, that's not a bad thing. Maybe you'll feel better after a break. Maybe next time you'll feel more objective when looking at the diagnosis sheet, since what happened with Frankie.

    Maybe next time it will be a sib group, a girl and a boy, or just a girl. You never know.

    But after the experience you just had, no one would be surprised if you stopped. In fact, most people would suggest it.

    But I promise you, no one here will think you're nuts if you decide to give it another go.

    Have you heard from him this weekend? Any news on Carl? Have you tried looking for him on Myspace or Facebook?

  3. This sounds exactly like the conversations in my house right now. One minute we are SO DONE and the next, ready to give it another shot. But like you said, we are grieving right now and can't make any decisions. I did tell them not to even CALL for two months. Right now we are in NO position to be making such a huge decision.

    Take a break, enjoy your family, and then wait and see how you feel in a few months. I'm sure that feeling will change several times, but with time you will know what you need to do.

  4. Just a suggestion, because this ultimately sounds like a control issue - you know, I want to control what's going to happen in my life (I know NOTHING about that ;)).

    Why do you have to do anything right now? Can't you say no to a placement at any time? Isn't staying licensed as a foster parent the same thing as being licensed for anything else (Lawyer, accountant, etc)? Some continuing ed, pay a fee, and you get to keep your license?

    No one is pushing another kid on you now, but six months, a year, two years, when brian graduates, all of these might be a time you would reconsider. And wouldn't getting relicensed after it lapsed be a big ol' PITA?

    Just my two cents.

  5. I hear ya, we have been there, more than once! And up until the very last time four years ago, we went right back to it. Now we really are done, Little Man gobbles up every last energy cell we own, so there is just no way we could take in another foster and be fair to another child. Enjoy your break.


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