I happen to run across my own blog while looking at someone else's blog. It is obvious that it had gotten lost as it hasn't been touched in a very long time. I even attempted to start another blog forgetting I had this one already.
I have finished not only my undergrad but my grad program also. I work at the same place I have for over 3 years and it isn't anything fantastic but it pays the bills. I laughed when I reviewed old blog posts and had a post about my job when it was still new and fun. I laugh at it now. I guess the honeymoon phase happens in relationships and in jobs. And speaking of relationships, I'm still single! :-)
I have spent the last year preparing my home, my life, my emotional state for being a foster parent. I completed the process in January 2012 and I now have the most beautiful little girl in my home. Baby J is the greatest addition I could have ever had in my home. I haven't smiled as much and I haven't cried as much as I have in the past few weeks. Not only is a 6 month old in my home a huge change (despite my efforts to be prepared) but knowing the history of this little life makes my heart break in a way I can't even explain. I almost feel guilty for being so happy with her because the only reason why I get to be happy with her is because her life wasn't happy with someone else; the only someone else who is supposed to keep her happy, healthy, and safe.
I've been asked a million times (and that is probably NOT an exaggeration) why I wanted to do Foster Care. My original reasons sounded something to the ring or wanting to help because I can, because the idea of them suffering any more than they are breaks my heart, and that every child deserves to be in a place that is safe, comforting, and loving to be in. Although I still believe those reasons, I have definitely wondered what in the world I got myself into. There is a long list of emotions that come with being a foster parent. A list of emotions that range between what I feel my own ability should be, to trying to have compassion for those who put this child in this situation in the first place.
But then my frustration, anxiety, and anger pushes further than that as I can recognize that this isn't an individual issue. That mother or that father didn't wake up one day unable to parent their child. That mother or father typically has lived a life in which their family and society has failed them. Although I believe whole heartedly that cycles can break and that saying something to the effect of "well my dad beat me so it's the only way I know to manage my kids" isn't acceptable. At the same time, if they really haven't been taught and shown what a parent is supposed to be, then how do we expect them to do it? We spend so much time with children teaching them and helping them to sit, crawl, walk, feed themselves, draw, write, speak, play, etc that we would never expect someone to figure that out on their own. If a child can't read then it is usually assumed that no one ever taught them. How is teaching your child how to parent any different?
I know from experience that a child can be brought up in the greatest of homes, in the greatest of circumstances, and still end up struggling in life: drugs, relationships, criminal activity, etc. However, a child who is brought up in a home in which there is no structure, understanding, teaching, or love and is full of chaos, abuse, and instability then the chances of them being able to grow up and have self worth, strong, loving relationships, and motivation to succeed in anything they put their mind too becomes impossible. I find myself between frustrated with Mom of Baby J (and all parents who have children in Foster Care) and frustrated with their parents, and their parents, and their parents - with the generations and generations who started the downward spiral.
And for those who had a chance, who came from a home that provided for them mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically in a healthy way, who ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people who fed into someone's insecurities that enabled them to start their own downward spiral then I feel the same way about those that influenced them. The fact that we need a Foster Care system isn't an individual issue, it's a societal issue. I realize people will disagree with this. That people feel that "every man for himself" is how our world should work. But until someone has caught you in a moment of weakness or has manipulated your child into unhealthy activities then maybe you just wouldn't understand. Until you can step back and recognize that as individualistic as we try and make this world, we are continuously influenced by every person we come in contact with and every action they made. If it takes a village to raise a child, then it also takes a village to destroy one.
I could keep going but I will stop for now. I'm happy that my life is where it is. I can only imagine where the next year(s) is going to take me and I can say I'm ready all I want, but I know that I'm not as prepared as I want to be, which is what makes life the adventure that it is. Right now, things are good, in a routine, anticipated. But I know, especially as I face this world of untraditional motherhood that I can't possibly plan for what is going to happen next!
I think I've caught up on where I am, what I'm doing, and how I feel about the world we live in soooooooooo, I'm going to go now.