Friday, February 19, 2010

the honeymoon is over

i'll try to keep this short and sweet so you're spared from all the details you don't want to hear...

basically, the last 3 weeks have been the most challenging of our foster care journey with R. through the training classes and the books i've read about fostering and adopting i saw a lot of information about the "honeymoon period" with foster kids. usually this period lasts about the first 3 months when the child is still trying to impress and not create a ruckus. they don't know their foster parents and their foster parents don't know them. some people call this the "observation and assessment period". the foster child is trying to figure out what will or won't press our buttons...what will get him in or out of to play one parent against the other, etc. well, i believe the honeymoon ended a few weeks ago for us. after the honeymoon, there is a period of testing the limits to see how much they can do before their family stops loving them. i think we got rocketed straight out of the honeymoon into this new phase a few weeks ago when all this happened.

now i don't want to mislead you into thinking something bigger happened than really did. i know many other foster families have experienced far worse than what we're going through! i mean thankfully R didn't do anything violent or crazy. instead, he just really disappointed us and caused us to question who he really is. even more than that, ryan and i were really disappointed in ourselves and our naivety! we thought we already had R pegged, when in reality, he probably has us pegged better than we know!!! we gave him too much space, too much freedom and too much trust too soon...

what it boils down to is that R cooked up a pretty big lie when he was backed in the corner about something else. unfortunately the lie he created was one that caused us to alert his social worker, therapist and the visitation center where the boys meet their mom. slowly, after about 36 hours of R elaborating his story with lie upon lie, we got to the truth. however, the hardest part for ryan and i in this process was an issue of pride. we went to bat for R. we told the social worker and the visitation center that they were the ones confused, not us, because we got our information from a more reliable source (*at least that's what we thought!). we stood up for R, believing what he was saying to be true, when it was not. defending him over his mom because of her track record...

yikes! it was pretty gut wrenching to have to make our apologies later, but all pride out the window, we did. unfortunately, the truth that came out of the situation was not rosey either. it was definitely different than what we were first led to believe but it wasn't necessarily any better.

this has just been such a learning experience for ryan and i. progress with R is definitely 2 steps forward, 1 step back, but at least we're aware of that now. even though he looks older, R is still a kid at heart. a very confused kid at that. he's been exposed to stuff that ryan and i could not dream of and a few months with us is not going to change that or wipe those past grievances away.

however, now being a few weeks removed from the situation, i can really see God at work in redeeming our family already. our trust will take some time to develop again but we are glad to see that we are still able to move forward. we have tried to reassure R all along that his mistakes won't make us stop loving or caring for him, even if they hurt us. this situation definitely has given me a new picture of the Gospel. it's hard for me to hold much of a grudge or stand in judgement of R when i do the same things everyday to my loving Father. it's amazing the insights God gives us through parenting :) all i know at this point is that i have a lot to learn!!!