Over and out

I’m done. It’s been nearly a year since the kids left and I’ve voluntarily given up my foster care license.

The blog will stay up. Every so often I read it and remember what my life was like with kids.  At this point,  it feels like a lifetime ago.

Off to find a new adventure. ..

Moving on

It has been three weeks since the kids left.  

The day after, their mom called to ask me to pick Spanky up from his school program.  I said yes.  In the moment, I felt like a sucker.  In retrospect, I’m glad that I went because it was the last, last time I saw them.

I spent the days after in a whirlwind of holiday travel.  In many ways, it was noticeably easier and lighter with only myself to fend for.  In other ways, it felt very empty.

My girlfriend helped me pack up the kids clothes and belongings.  So many memories in two years of living together…

Thankfully, she also rearranged the house.  Their room is gone and my stuff is organized again.  The space feels good.

Some of my coworkers know but many don’t.  Each day is like the continual process of coming out.  ”How are the kids doing?” turns into an explanation of how they aren’t my kids anymore.  Never were my kids in the first place…

I’m sad.  It hurts worse than I expected.

Next month, I’m supposed to talk to my licensing worker’s MAPP class about my experience.  I don’t know what to tell those people.  ’Go be a foster parent!  Do your part in the life of a child!’  Meh.  

It was the best of times and the worst of times and I’m done with it.

1

I wasn’t really sure how the “last day” was going to go.  Cutting to the punchline, it was not the Hall_mark card cryfest that I expected.

I’d promised Spanky that we’d have a special night for our last day.  He was game and has been talking about it since last week when we heard the “you’re going back” news.  

Fast forward.  After our work holiday party, Big Big Boss generously gave everyone the rest of the day off.  I jetted to Spanky’s school around 3:30 figuring that I’d pick him up early to spend some one-on-one time with him.  ”I want to stay at school and play.” Seriously??  Oooooooook.  It’s your day, buddy.  So I rolled home and killed time (read: ate French Toast Sticks while watching Maury) until the normal pickup time.

At 5:30, I arrive at Violet’s school for pickup.  She is engrossed in a game of doll in the shopping cart and isn’t ready to go.  Cue the crying and falling on the floor.  I really won’t miss this. 

Then, I head to pick up Spanky.  Now, he wants to know the plan for our special evening.  We’re going to decorate the gingerbread house.  ”But I wanted to GO somewhere special!!”  I came to pick you up early to take you somewhere special and you didn’t want to go. <crickets>

The evening turned into the normal wind-down.  Dinner followed by interpretive gingerbread decorating, bath time and bed.  No Hall_mark moments here.

2

The kids seem to be in good spirits and, luckily, I am too.  

Tonight, Spanky wanted to have a “special night.”.  So, at his request, we had dinner at Denny_s.  It was our weekly ritual until the kids started weekend visits.  Dinner was nice but largely uneventful.  I got the waitress to snap a picture of the three of us.  In looking through their pictures last week, I realized that I had lots of them but few with them.

We got home and Spanky played the piano for 5 minutes before his bath.  The kids are in bed but restless.  Every 10 minutes or so, they’ll call me for something - bathroom, water, breakfast request.  And with every trip, there’s another round of hugs and kisses.

It’s just a nice night.  And I want to remember. 

3

The kids are tucked in after the 23rd round of kisses.  They are chatting with each other…well, really Violet is chatting and Spanky is trying to fall asleep.

Last week, when I first heard the reunification plan, I felt numb and so very sad.  This week feels normal.  Maybe too normal.  In any case, I’m enjoying it the best I can.

This morning, Violet asked if BioMom was picking her up from school.  I told her that I was.  ”I want BioMom to pick me up.  Not you.”

Soon, little one…soon.

4 nights

…and then they’ll be gone.

Bucket list be damned.  We’ll just have to do our best to enjoy the time.

Nights like this

Every night, Spanky gathers up as many stuffed animals as he can find and brings them to bed.  He’ll also pick 5 or 6 or 7 books and bring those too.  On the nights when he’s really tired, he’ll go right to sleep surrounded by his books and bears.

On nights like tonight, I can hear him turning pages in the next room.  

stormy weather

For the record, this reunification business sucks.  Yeah, I know - it’s foster care, not adoption - but I’m past that.

What’s really sucking is the way that my sweet boy has turned into an angry (because he’s scared) little monster.  He is miserable and hurtful and argumentative.  He spends all day pushing you away in order to prove his theory that he’s not loved.    

His sister is just as miserable.  She’s moody and defiant and can drop into a tantrum at the drop of a hat.  Yeah, I know she’s two but the behavior is just not like her.  Today’s curse (eff you, a-hole) took the cake.

They now spend 3 nights with their mom and 4 nights with me.  When they return, I hardly recognize them.

I’m tired.

And trying to be loving and patient while waiting for them to go.

Not really complaining but…

My baby mama must be working these kids overtime.  After their weekend visit, they slept for 15 hours straight.

Bucket list update

Two down…

1. Camping

2. Fishing

3. Watching airplanes take off by the airport

4. Bowling

5. Life books for both kids

6. Family night at the aquarium

7. Staycation at another hotel

8. Apple picking

9. Roadtrip!

10. Letting Spanky get a mohawk