There is so much lately that I don’t understand.

I don’t understand how my family became so unsettled. I don’t understand why my son Ben is constantly misbehaving, why my foster daughter Holly is so very angry at me, why each week sees a new behavioural problem bubbling up. I cannot find a way to make things better.

My mind goes blank, filled only with screams of exasperation that I cannot allow myself to let out for the sake of my kids. I just want to shout a loud “enough” and return to the good days, the days in which I still felt hopeful for the future.

I met so many foster carers, I read their blogs, and every single one of them have my complete admiration. They are all excelling at something I’m so miserably failing at. I’m trying so hard, but when I look around I can only see the wreckage left by the bad days.

And the bad days are close to every day lately. I find myself writing a daily log that says “today I have been hit only twice”. When did this become my new normality? It’s scary to think what we are forced to accept at times. And I’m not talking about the physical pain of the constant hitting. Holly is just a small, fragile, two and a half years old. She cannot hurt me physically. But emotionally I’m completely consumed.

I remember our Supervising Social Worker introducing Holly to us as an “easy first placement”, ideal to ease us into the new routine and getting the hack for our new role as foster carers. For weeks I felt so demoralised for struggling to cope with the “easy first placement”, keep asking myself if it would have been better for all of us to just ask to move Holly and give up on fostering. Then just last week, during a meeting, the same social worker admitted that our “easy first placement” turned out to be a complex case, and that the impact of Holly’s past experiences were seriously under-estimated. I don’t know whether to count it as a small victory, or if I should feel vindicated, but surely a small part of me feel relieved in knowing I might have good reasons for finding living with Holly challenging and exhausting.

Since the day Holly came into our life 5 months ago, I strove to adjust to the new life’s dynamics, but in the span of such a short period of time my life have changed so much to be now just a distorted version of what it used to be.

My rational mind keeps reminding me all about how the trauma is to blame, how it makes Holly behave in such a destructive and irrational way. My logical thinking knows that hitting, hiding, shouting, provoking, refusing, and disregarding are the only way Holly can show her suffering.

But, I feel I’m getting to the point in which I cannot take it anymore. I’m becoming apathetic and detached. I’m afraid that try to help Holly will mean lose all that is important to me: my family.

We are all drifting away from each other, me, my husband Diego and my son Ben. It’s like an explosive chain reaction: Ben misbehaves to copy Holly and to win back some of the attentions she stole from him. I’m trying to be therapeutic, but I have a short fuse with my son lately. Maybe it’s because I expect more from him, or just because I used up all my patience in dealing with Holly. And when Diego tries to suggest how to deal with situations, well, I just lash out and he’s on the receiving end of all my anger.

Everyone involved with Holly’s case seems to be convinced that a permanent decision will be taken soon, in a matter of weeks in fact. As it’s often the case, it all depends on the decision of a judge and, given the options, it won’t be an easy decision to take. Nothing about Holly has been easy so far.

For my part, I will try not to countdown the days before the hearing, because it just feels horrible to do so. I don’t know if it Holly will be with us for few more weeks, or another year. What I know is that I will take a long break from fostering after this, and use that time to repair the tears in my family relationships, and reflect on what happened in the past few months.

Then it will be the time to think at the next placement.

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  1. Jo 13th May 2017 Reply
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  3. thebeautifulopportunity 4th November 2017 Reply

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