It’s hard to look at sometimes - how failed the system is. It’s heartbreaking, and nobody enjoys having their heart broken. But friends, it’s time to let our hearts be broken. It’s time to look the ugliness in the face, and feel just a fraction of what these children feel every day.
My newest son - yes “son”, he’s mine from day one - has been in eleven foster homes. He has been removed from and returned to biological parents four times. He is angry and for good reason. Rejection is all this child has ever known. His fear runs deep, and it is going to take a long time to earn his trust.
To be honest, he’s got some big emotions and he has no idea how to express them. To be fair to the foster homes who sent him away, he screams and hits and acts out in strong ways. He can be a lot to handle, and parenting him can be exhausting. There are days when I need a break... or ten breaks, to keep walking in love, and sometimes I’m not as patient or loving as I want to be. Sometimes this child hurts my feelings. YES, I have feelings and sometimes my kids walk in them. This child hurts me at times, and I have to walk away and breathe and count to 100. Yet, even on our most challenging day, I know I will NEVER send this child away. If he is returned to his biological family and ends back up in the system, he will come back to my home. Period. Why? Because this little boy isn’t the problem. Abandonment is the problem. Neglect is the problem. Trauma is the problem. My son is not the problem.
This weekend, we had the amazing opportunity to spend time without our children. We have wonderful friends who took our kids and I know that they are having a wonderful time . And yet, I had to retell my seven year old at least ten times that I WOULD see him on Sunday, that I was NOT leaving him at another person’s house, that he was only staying for two nights. I told him, “baby, you’re going to Miss Stephanie’s with Max. Max is a Klingenmeyer! You’re both coming home on Sunday. I will NEVER send you to live with another foster family.” Over and over. And the truth is, he doesn’t believe me and I’m not sure if he ever will, no matter how many times I show up.
I’m not ok with this scenario. I’m not happy with his life experiences. I’m not pleased with some adults. But I don’t look away, because I can’t solve the problem by ignoring it. I have to be uncomfortable in order to help. I have to break my heart in order to heal his.