Posted in Adoption

Life After Disruption

People are still asking me “How Are You Doing?”

It’s SUCH a loaded question. I LOVE the support that we have. I LOVE that people care about ME so much.

But it’s tough to answer. On one hand, I am doing fine. I have slid right back into our old routine. I feel sometimes like people don’t want to hear that answer. They want me to be sad, be miserable, be in mourning. And some days I am. There are days where I miss them so much it hurts. I miss how life was when they were here. But there are more days where I am fine. I am happy. I am going on with life how it is. Because there is no use to wondering. Wondering what life would be like if they were here. Wondering where they are, what they are doing, are they happy, are they okay. I will never know. So I can’t sit here and pause my life. I have to keep going.

I am happy. I am healthy. I am keeping busy. My depression levels are wayyyy down. My stress levels are wayyy down. It is hard to believe it has already been a month. It feels like so much longer.

I’ve been asked if we are going to adopt again. The answer right now is no. I don’t know if that answer will ever change. We went through a really really hard case. These boys need more help and therapy than their caseworkers are willing to admit. Their caseworkers are not willing to listen to us in order to help the boys. They have changed nothing in their profile. They have not addressed the running away. I don’t believe they ever will, which sucks. If they are not willing to address the problems that the boys have, they will only get worse.

Honestly, seeing how caseworkers and agencies treat you as a home and not as people has really turned me off of the whole adoption thing. Neither our caseworker nor our agency has checked in with us to make sure we are doing okay after this ordeal. It has been both disappointing and eye opening.

I can’t see ever going through this process again. I loved the boys, absolutely, with my whole heart. I didn’t go into this half-heartedly. I went into this with my whole heart. And my whole heart was hurt when it didn’t work. I honestly couldn’t go through that again. I have to protect my heart and my husband’s heart.

And I’m okay with that. If we never have children, I know that we will be fine. If you made me choose between being with my husband and having no kids or being with someone else and having kids, I’d choose my husband EVERY TIME. I can’t go through life without him. But we have built a life without children and if we don’t have any, I know we’ll be fine.

xoxo

nikki

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Posted in Adoption

Life Goes On

There’s not much information out there about adoption disruptions. Sure I’ve read some adoption forums where people talk about it but I haven’t really found anything about what you do once the adoption is disrupted.

We’ve packed up and sent all of their stuff. Gosh, it was a lot! And it took days to do it because it was spread throughout the house.

We’ve taken down their beds and turned their rooms back to what they were before: den & guest room.

We’ve packed up a box of their things that we wanted to keep, pictures & drawings mostly and put it in the basement. I just can’t bear to look at any of it right now. Especially pictures. The ones on the walls we took down right away. I’ve spent the last couple of days taking their pictures from iphoto & putting them on a hard drive. I hope one day to be able to look at them, maybe even scrapbook them but it hurts too much right now.

I don’t know if any of this is the “right” way to heal. Is there a “right” way to heal for anything? Everyone heals differently.

I have to keep reminding myself that it’s only been two weeks. It takes time. We are mourning a loss. A loss of two children, a loss of a dream, a loss of a family.

The first couple days when we were packing up their stuff was the hardest. They had so much stuff, all over the place and as we packed it up there were so many memories. In just 4 short months, we had made so many memories.

The hardest one was the web shooters we had bought for Q’s birthday in November. So don’t tell me that we hadn’t planned on a future with them. We had birthday presents ALREADY bought. It killed me to think about him opening them and not being there to see the excitement on his face. To not see him use them for the first time. That was by far the hardest thing to pack up. I miss him. I miss reading him stories at bedtime. I miss him crawling onto my lap. I miss his crazy imagination. His crazy made up stories. How he would tell us that Peter Parker was his cousin. I miss him chasing the rabbits. And high-fiving the trees. Playing 1-on-1 basketball with him.

The second hardest thing is that no one wants to let us know how they are doing. Just because our home wasn’t the right home for them doesn’t mean we don’t care about them. We want them to be happy. We want to know how they are doing. I hate that the caseworkers don’t want to let us know how they are. WE LOVE THEM. WE CARE ABOUT THEM. I know they think we don’t. But we do. We’ve asked a couple of times how they’re doing and have been met by no response. While I hate it, there’s nothing else we can really do.

The funniest thing to me out of all of this (funny ironic) is how neither our caseworker nor our adoption agency has reached out to us to see how we are doing. This just proves to me that they never saw us as people, just a home where they could put kids. They clearly never cared about us.

Disruption is hard because no one wants to talk about it. There are no support groups. Some people want to even pretend like it doesn’t exist. If you are going through a disruption, or thinking about it, feel free to reach out to me.

xoxo

nikki

Posted in Adoption

On Adoption Disruption

Adoption disruption is so “hush hush” in the adoption community. No one wants to come out and talk about it. I AM NOT ASHAMED. We did what we HAD to do for the boys and for ourselves.

Yes, these children come from hard places. Yes, they deserve a forever family. BUT the family still has to do what is best for themselves as well. D’s attitude about being here was beating us down EVERY SINGLE DAY.  He was disrespectful to a level that I can’t even explain. I dreaded each and every morning. I never knew what kind of mood he would be in. I was walking on eggshells in my own home.

I couldn’t live like that anymore. I wasn’t going to tell this part of the story but it just seems right to share now. I had finally reached a breaking point. I got in my car while my husband was putting them to bed & when he couldn’t find me, he called me & I told him “I’m not coming back. I can’t do it anymore.” And I was serious. I had been beat down so much that I couldn’t take it anymore. I literally got on E-470 & drove east. I spent the night in a hotel. And that was when we made the decision to disrupt.

It wasn’t a decision that we made easily or simply. It wasn’t a decision we made the first time D even ran away. Or the first time he was disrespectful. We lived through over a month of his disrespect just getting worse and worse. We tried every technique the caseworker & therapist gave us.

Honestly, the decision for me was made while talking to our caseworker. I was asking her what do we do when he just walks out the front door, what do we do when he won’t go the doctor (which he wouldn’t), what do we do when he decides he’s not going to school? And her response “You call the police, you get the school principal involved, the truancy officer”. And I told her “I’m not willing to live that kind of life. I don’t want to be on a first name basis with the police”.

Honestly, that was in our home study. We told her, our agency, everyone from the beginning that we could not handle a child who was a runner. And yet they lied about these kids and gave them to us anyway.

I don’t want to sit here and blame the system. But yet they do need to take some blame for this. This is what happens when caseworkers don’t tell you everything. This is what happens when the state wants these kids to be adopted so badly that they don’t care about telling you everything or giving the kids a choice.

I’m heart broken that we had to disrupt. But yet there was no way we could keep these kids. We weren’t prepared for kids like this. And no one was willing or able to help us.

At the end of the day, we were the ones here with them 24/7. We were the ones dealing with these behaviors. And we couldn’t handle it anymore.

I don’t see our disruption as this awful, evil thing we did. I see it as the best thing for us and the boys. They got to go home and I got to stop walking on eggshells in my home.

Yes, we love them and always will. But D just had behaviors that we couldn’t handle.

Disruption is okay. It is okay to feel relieved when the kids leave your home. That’s how you know you made the right choice. Yes, foster kids deserve a forever home. But if it’s not your home, you have to step up and make the right decision for everyone. I truly believe there is a better home for these boys than mine. The boys deserve to be happy but my husband and I also deserve to be happy. And we couldn’t all be happy together. It just wasn’t “meant to be”.

So don’t feel bad if you’re thinking about disrupting. You have to take care of yourself FIRST. You can’t be a parent if you AREN’T HAPPY. You can’t be a parent if you’re not taking care of yourself. I wasn’t being a good parent and I wasn’t even being a good spouse. Your life MATTERS. You have to be happy (at least most of the time). It’s YOUR LIFE. Choose what makes YOU happy.

I loved the boys. I wanted this to work. But at the end of the day, I had to choose what makes me happy. My husband makes me happy. The boys didn’t make me happy. They made me not want to come home. They made me want to leave and never come back. I couldn’t live that life. In the end, “selfish” as it may seem, we choose ourselves and our marriage. I don’t see it as selfish. Some people do. Some people *cough caseworkers cough cough* think we should have sacrificed ourselves and our marriage for these boys. No. I’m sorry but no.

No one wants to believe that an 8 year old can be SO manipulative and controlling but D was. He was picking apart our relationship and I KNOW that if they had stayed, I would have left. He knew how to control situations. He knew how to behave in certain situations. He never let the therapist see the side of him we saw at home. So how was she supposed to help????

At the end of the day, disruption was the right choice for all of us. If you are thinking about disrupting, feel free to reach out to me. It is not a bad thing. You should not feel guilty about doing it.

xoxo

nikki

Posted in Adoption

It Hurts

My wonderful family has been such an amazing support through all of this. They’ve been there to listen. They’ve checked in on us. They’ve dragged us to baseball games and got me out of the house/bed. They’ve been the most supportive family I could ever imagine, I’m so blessed. They’ve been understanding. They haven’t judged. I am more grateful for all of them than I can express to them.

Every day I get a little better. But sometimes it hurts in the weirdest of places, like Wal-Mart. When you’re standing in the frozen section at Wal-Mart, crying, you realize you’ve pretty much hit rock bottom. But that’s the funny thing about grief, it likes to sneak up on you in the weirdest of places.

Like sometimes I go outside and just suddenly remember them blowing bubbles on the front steps. I’m sure one day that will be a happy memory but right now remembering it just hurts. It just reminds me of the fact that they will NEVER do it again.

Sometimes it actually physically hurts me. Like I can’t catch my breath. Like I’ve been punched in the stomach. I MISS them. I miss reading bedtime stories. I miss them cuddling up next to me on the couch. I miss seeing them ride their bikes. I miss so much.

However, there is no regret. I know WITHOUT A DOUBT that we did the RIGHT THING sending them back. I know it’s where they wanted to be. I know the running away would have only gotten worse if they had stayed out here. And the disrespect, not listening, and bad behaviors.

Knowing this doesn’t mean that I don’t miss them. It just means that I have no regrets. The pain of missing them comes hard and fast. It comes randomly. I don’t know if this will always be a part of me or not. I imagine I will always miss them but I hope that it doesn’t always come with this physical pain.

I’m still navigating the waters of grief and loss. It’s only been two weeks. Seems like so much longer but nope, just two weeks.

All I can do is ride the waves, pray and have faith in God’s Plan.

xoxo

nikki

Posted in Adoption

The System Failed Them

I know that there are a lot of children in the foster system. I realize that the end goal for all of these children is adoption. I know that these caseworkers have A LOT of cases on their plate. I realize that things slip through the cracks.

But here’s the thing:

FOSTER CHILDREN SHOULD BE GIVEN A VOICE. They should be listened to. They didn’t ask to be foster children. They have had very little/no choice in the matter. They should, at least, be sat down & asked if they are ok with being adopted out of state. But no, they’re not. The end goal is adoption & caseworkers do not care if that’s in state or out of state, they just want to get them adopted & off their caseload.

My boys SHOULD HAVE been asked if they wanted to move out of state. They would have SAID NO! They said it to us DAILY for the last 4 months that they wanted to go “home”. They NEVER wanted to move. But were they asked if they wanted to move? NO!

If there is one thing I wish the caseworkers would listen to, it’s this:

GIVE THESE CHILDREN A VOICE. Sit down and talk to them, listen to them. They didn’t put themselves in foster care. They didn’t ask to be taken away from their biological family. They didn’t have a choice in any of this, so at least give them a choice of moving out of state or not. At least give them a choice in choosing their adoptive family. Let them have SOME SAY in being adopted because they’ve had NO SAY up until then.

We will always, always love the boys. They were a part of our lives. We had planned for a future with them.

I am heart broken, upset, sad, and angry with a system that didn’t listen to our boys.

I am also thankful for the time I had with them. I will always remember them. They will always be a part of our family, no matter how short their time here was.

xoxo

nikki