Ok all, I’ll let ya know up front this is a whining post, so if you aren’t in the mood, don’t read much further. I have been feeling resentful the past few days. “Of who?” you might ask. Well, I have less than wonderful feelings toward our foster daughter’s mother.
Having adopted internationally for our last 3 children, we never had birthmothers in the picture. We probably couldn’t begin to find our children’s birthmothers even if they desperately wanted to meet them. I probably want to meet them more than some of my children do, but at least at this point in time, it just isn’t an option.
So, having to practice “shared parenting” is a totally new idea for me. It’s an idea that I stand by wholeheartedly in theory. After all, V. was taken from her home without anyone asking her if she was game to the idea. Of course she wasn’t, no matter how bad home life was (and trust me on this one, it was pretty bad!) She misses her parents and grieves for them at times which is totally understandable. I have done my best in trying to educate her mother on how important it is for V. to feel those connections with her bio family while she is in my home and have asked repeatedly for pictures. We finally got two last week which I posted in her room where she can see them. Meanwhile, I have sent her mother 32 pictures of her over the past two months in order to let her mom feel more a part of her life even though she can only see her daughter a couple of hours each week during a supervised visit.
Am I resentful of the photos issue? Nah, even though it irritates me that her mother claims she has hundreds of photos but could only come up with two, and her father isn’t in either photo. What I am resentful of is the fact that her mother doesn’t know how to parent and so she just tries to literally buy V’s love. If V. wants a balloon, Mom buys it. If she wanted a bottle full of kool-aid, she got it…hence, the bottle rot that cost almost $2,000 to fix her molars. V. came home from visitation near Easter time with so much loot she could hardly carry it all in the house. From stuffed animals to kites to candy, she had it all.
V. is happy here. For the most part, she doesn’t even come home sad from visitations anymore. It’s almost like she is thinking “Yeah, I miss my parents but I got to see them today and I’m happy living in this house.”
Since last week, however, the honeymoon seems to be over. I’m not sure what has triggered it, but she is trying behaviors with me that I have only seen her do with her biological mother; behaviors she never would have done two weeks ago. “No!” has become her favorite word and if she really wants to prove irritating, she says, “What??” to everything you tell her. She knows full well what she is doing because she does it with a smirk. A child who has been fully potty trained for two months is now going in her pants again and her preschool teachers tell me she is sassy mouthed and has “attitude.”
Part of this is actually a good sign. Without her feeling safe to act out and be sassy, she might never heal from some of her issues. She is also trying to regain some semblance of control in her life, which to her probably feels quite out of control. No one asked her if she preferred two hour visits on Wednesday afternoons where total strangers would pick her up in a van when the visit is over to remove her from her mother and bring her back here. I totally understand her need for control. I get it. I really do. However, having Mom on the same page when it comes to parenting would be quite beneficial.
Last week V. got out of the cart at the grocery store and literally ran as fast as her little legs would go over to grab a balloon that I did not intend to buy for her. I had to peel her fingers off of the string which caused her to scream all the way out of the store. Yes, I could have bought it, but did not want to reinforce inappropriate behaviors.
Having watched her interact with her mother, I know Mom would have bought the balloon the second V. let out a peep. As a matter of fact, V. has come back from visitation on 3 different occasions with balloons in hand. So, I am the “mean mother” and she is the mom who always comes bearing gifts. I’ve heard her Mother say, “but I didn’t want her to cry!” even when what she was crying for was totally inappropriate. We have one standard with her bio mom and another she is expected to live by the rest of the week. Heck, if I were her, I’d probably be pooping my pants by now as well just out of frustration!