I was asked the other day, before the court day that changed everything just enough again…just enough to change my normal, to make hard harder…if I would consider leading a yoga-type class for local foster parents. A time to exhale alongside one another, those walking that similar roller coaster, that often heavy path, sometimes with little respite for ourselves in the midst of a growing number of needs, behavioral problems, family issues, etc.
Because this foster parenting/kinship caring thing we’re doing, it just might be one of the hardest things of all.
A few days after that, and a few days after the court date, I had some conversation or another with my husband about the tough stuff of this life and as I reflected on the counseling sessions prescribed to many involved in the case, I made the half-joking remark that I don’t need therapy.
“I don’t need therapy. I know how to…self-therap.”
(It completely sounds like a legitimate verb to me.)
(And by my making that statement, I meant that if I didn’t know how to do such a thing, I’d be in big trouble.)
And just now, while pulling weeds in my horridly overgrown garden, letting my mind talk and talk and talk as it does in the silence, I thought about the past 48 hours. The quiet of only three children since that risky court decision. The quiet and time and freedom but also…the grief and the loss. And I thought, perhaps there should be a support for foster parents, especially after these moments. Because while every feeling, compassionate person wants to see a child with its parent, the truth is that when you have raised that child (or three) everyday for one year and two days, it’s still a loss when the care comes to an end. And even when it moves toward a possible end. When that child wants to be with someone else.
As much as all that I am wants to see families whole and unified and together, it’s still a loss to the caregiver, the “mama” who isn’t at all and shouldn’t have been but did find herself there and so…what is temporary and shifting and unknown and hard suddenly feels a lot like loss. And grief.
We can’t take those very real, perhaps intense, feelings away from the foster parents and the family members who’ve given their whole hearts, changed up their lives, loved to that hurt point.
There is recommended therapy for the drug user and the abuser. For the child in limbo.
Ma (my grandma/hero/best friend) wasn’t offered therapy after her husband died unexpectedly at 28-years-old and their almost-adopted baby girl was subsequently removed from her home, back in 1969. My, how deep the grief must have been.
There is no therapy for the aunt/grandma/foster mom who sang a child to sleep for 365 days, who made one meal for eight, cleaned it all up to begin prep on the next meal, who rubbed backs for weeks while children cried themselves to sleep after the people they were given failed to live and fight for them, who taught them to ride bikes and skateboards and how to swim and that they are safer and greater than their fears.
That the whole world is for them to enjoy. To move confidently in.
There is no therapy for the moment you know they could lose all that. When they ask you to give a child away to great risk and everyone knows it.
But thank goodness, somehow, some God way, us foster parents/kinship caregivers…some sympathetic God taught us how to…self-therap.
Taught us to trust even when we don’t feel.
That good can still conquer.
That it wasn’t in vain.
That they will remember.
That the fight was the most worthy one.
That His children, those wee ones, they’re always worth the need for some self-theraping. Always.
“Trust me.” –God