My philosophy going into foster care was that I wanted to maintain the best relationship possible with every bio-parent that we came into contact with. There were so many perks to this way of thinking.
1. It will be better for the child to see a good healthy relationship.
2. Whether the child is reunified or adopted, good communication will make everything easier.
3. Visits would be less awkward.
4. No matter the end result, this child would remain having us all in his life.
I could go on and on.
Boy, oh boy, did that philosophy change.
Do I still think that all parties involved should try to maintain a responsible, respectful and courteous relationship? Of course!!
You see, that's the issue.
I soon realized that the majority of bio-parents that we would meet would NOT be responsible, respectful and courteous.
I've given much thought to sharing my story. I mean, what's allowed and what's not. I'm technically not allowed to share 'their' story, but isn't this my story too? Aren't I a HUGE part of this story?
My point is not to release private details or make anyone look bad, it's to share my experiences and show this challenging and stressful side of foster care.
I get along fine with D's bio-parents, but that doesn't mean that I am supportive of all of their decisions.
Something that I have learned as a foster parent is that not everyone is respectable of the rules and guidelines. That can be very difficult to handle when you constantly go out of your way to do the exact opposite and create a positive environment.
When my phone rings I literally have to say to myself, "This is a business call".
If not, there is too much emotion.
I feel a lot of guilt when there is a missed visit, even if I am the only one who showed up and remembered about it.
Being a foster parent is balancing a fine line between not letting yourself get walked on and not walking over others.
When we received our first placement I was eager and willing to do whatever I needed to do in order to make this a positive experience. Going into our next placement, I have developed thicker skin and I am more aware of what is expected of me.
Someone recently asked me if being a foster parent was harder then what I thought it would be. My response was simple, no. It is EXACTLY as hard as I thought it would be.
This is almost exactly what I thought the bio-parents would be like. The hard part is living it. It's thinking in a moment how to respond to such an absurd comment or question. It's learning to communicate with a teenager equivalent.
Baby D is still in our home and thriving. In fact, DSEP was here recently and she was so impressed with his development. He rolled over at 6 weeks and coos non-stop. He is perfect in every way.