Letter 3 November 26, 2013

a story of our home…

I’d like to share a story of our home and our experience in fostering…..I am a Morley home that was trained by the Province…I have been one of the very few homes that has been fortunate enough to have six children from infancy to date…..twenty years later………there were some ups and downs with workers coming and going….teachers leaving…upheaval in personal life but overall I have always had the support of the social workers, the support of the schools, the Fetal Alcohol assessments done at the Children’s Hospital….yearly training…yearly licensing under intense invasive scrutiny and I have tried on a daily basis to be the best person I can for these children as they only have one life to live and I chose this profession…..

Over the years I watched and continue to watch these children grow…they’ve had no disruption to blame on workers or family…no abuse to blame on anyone myself or otherwise….each one so different and yet the same….each one I was able to put a band aid on and fix when they were little…then went on to the heartache of not being able to help them make friends or be popular or be smart in school…..and now I’m moving on to not being successful at being able to help them get over their anxieties to realize their full potential….I watched the two oldest girls struggle with mental illness and go on to become moms…I struggle on a daily basis to help them keep their babies with them because they are good moms…they just need constant help…..constant guidance…one struggles with alcohol and i have to step back for a while because I can’t take the pain of watching…then i will regroup and dig back in…….these two are living with their partners…who suffer from their own issues……I will continue on with the ones still living in my home…one is 19…doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke…but anxieties are crippling….he seems content…….the next one is 17…mental health issues…suffers from depression and anxieties again crippling…he has just quit school because they can’t meet his needs…..i connect with ACH and psychiatrists…he pulls and pinches at his face until he is scarred….on a daily basis we have some supports but he is at the age where he can consent or not……he talks about life being too hard…about being with his mom (who is deceased)….every night he comes to my room to talk like this… then we move on to my 14 year old girl who doesn’t know yet if she wants to be a boy or a girl….she went home for a visit one weekend when she was four and came back and changed into boy clothes….she’s had counselling….assessments…..now issues are building and supports are being put in place….for the most part i see these as band aid solutions….on any given day i will wonder if i will find one of my children dead…none of this is because I’m a bad foster parent….or because of a bad social worker…or because supports weren’t in place….it lies on the shoulder of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome…..it lies on the fact that these children reach a stage where mental health issues take over….I didn’t make the choice to drink while pregnant…..I didn’t cause this damage….i made the choice to love this child in a way that he wasn’t getting before me….i continue to love these children in spite of the behaviours and the heartache….these people that judge without knowing the other side are being so hurtful…they have no clue of the real pain behind raising a foster child….they also have no clue of the joy of seeing them be successful at just one thing…..

When you are a foster parent you grow weary……and the child’s behaviour is usually not the cause….it’s the judgement of others…..and there is only one reason why I don’t quit….because i love them and I am all they have….