Sunday, July 8, 2007

Where is Happy?

I haven't mentioned Happy in quite a while. Happy is a two year old foster child who was with us for over year, and left our home earlier this summer. One of the hardest things for us as foster parents is deciding if something isn't working for the child, or for our family, and deciding what to do about it. We often go back and forth between Father and I, with one deciding we should make a change, and the other not being sure. Then we trade places for a while, taking the opposite viewpoint. Over time we change, the children change, and sometimes we work through the difficulties. With Happy it was an even more complicated decision. She was with us for a long time, and we do love her. She was a very sweet girl, but it seemed that she never became 'one of us.' Sometimes foster kiddos just feel like they belong with us, and we live and work together as a family for however long they're here. With others, it isn't quite that easy.

Happy had many developmental needs, and we've had experience with that, so it seemed like we would be a good fit for her. We wanted to do it, and especially I wanted to do it, and do it well. I really enjoyed the investigation part of trying to find a cause for her disabilites, as well as providing the therapies and other daily things we could do for her. I was hopeful we could unlock the secret that was "her," and in doing so, help her grow and develop over time. However, for some reason, the emotional attachment that we usually find just didn't develop as we expected. When it began to look like her placement with us would become a long term proposition, we needed to stop and consider what was best for each of us individually, and the family as a whole. At these times we do a lot of self-examination and individual and family discussions, as well as consulting with those at the agency who know us well, and work with our children. For us, one of the most difficult parts of fostering is deciding to ask for a child to be moved to another home. We learn (and teach!) in foster parent training about the emotional needs of children, and how each time they are moved, it causes some level of trauma for them. We've seen countless children who believe themselves unworthy of love and commitment from parents. Over time, this can become a self-fulfilling prophecy for these children, and we don't want to be one of the causes of long-term damage. So . . . hours, days, and nights are spent trying to figure out what is truly best. It's impossible to make weighted pros and cons lists, but that is what happens mentally and emotionally. If this . . . then this. Or this, . . . then that. But . . . And what about the other idea? And if not us, then who? Or where? Eventually, we decided to ask for the agency to look for another foster home for her. Sometimes it takes a while to try on a decision to be sure it's right, looking for evidence one way or the other. We now think the evidence is there, and we pray that Happy will be truly happy with her new foster family, and will soon have a forever family who will love her and cherish her for all her very special qualities. We miss you, Happy, and pray for you.

1 comment:

strem said...

Happy, your family, and this story have remained in my thoughts this week. My heart ached when I read this, and I hope we can talk about this sometime in person. Praying for her and for you!