Observations by Key Monroe~~Home of Right Opinions, Cynical Viewpoints, and TMI in Hefty Doses
|E-mail: keymonroe [at] alltel [dot] net

May 29, 2005

I've Been Detached

Yes, I have been putting things up just to take up space, as I have been of no mind to write.

It has not been work. It has not been blogworld drama.

I have been battling a very difficult decision, one which I only shared with a handful of people.

A year ago this week, I took a foster child into my home.

He was three (almost four) at the time, malnourished, bald (due to lice), and was not potty-trained. He was scared, and he had little to no social skills. He had never been to a ballpark, had never heard of Santa.

It has been a busy year.

We've conquered the potty monster, introduced a boy to an ocean, had a birthday party, played soccer, developed a studly spike hairstyle, had a bountiful Christmas, learned our ABC's, made cupcakes and cookies, and played tee-ball.

He has learned "please," "thank you," and at bedtime, we have shared many an "I love you." And I quickly became "mom."

We faced his natural parents in a court scheduled panel review in the spring, and it became obvious to me that they were no longer a viable option for placement. After nine months, they had not had one negative drug screen. Not one.

And so, I stressed.

He thought he was going back "home." But I knew better, and I wanted to be there for him to pick up the pieces. And the caseworkers wanted to know what had been plaguing me for weeks: if parental rights were to be terminated, would we adopt him?

Problem: This child is not perfect. What child is? He is passive-aggressive. He doesn't listen. He resists schedules and routines. He has nervous habits. The list goes on, but it pretty much goes with the territory. Additional work, love, stress...that's part of the deal.

I wanted a son. I would make the effort. I envisioned a grown man -with character, strength, and humility- calling me mom, opening doors for me, and sharing stories of his success. And of course, supplying me with a multitude of grandchildren to sugar up. ....But this isn't about me.

My husband did not bond with this child. He just didn't. I think he's always wanted a son too, but not this one. They just didn't click. And so I knew that he could not be the father that the boy deserves. And so...

I had to make the call. Then, voice mails unreturned, I walked in to the DFCS office. I announced to the appropriate people that not only would we not be able to adopt this child to whom I have been mom for a year, but we would not be adopting at all. Ever. "We are retiring," I told the head of placement.

She shook her head and was obviously disappointed. "I had heard, but I wasn't going to believe it," she said, "not until I heard it from you."

It has been three years, and we have had six long term placements, and while I know that I could be passionate about children forever, my family is burnt out, and I must respect that.

But I refused to let this child be shuffled back into the system. I know that we are not the only foster parents who have burned out. I also know that there are many, many less than ideal homes out there.

And so...I made a pest of myself. I know that there are classes every year in which new families are approved for foster/adoption. I also know that the psyche coming out of this class is optimal for giving, loving, bonding.

So I demanded that he go to an adoptive couple out of that class. Of course, no one had to listen to me, nor did they want to, as the paperwork on these folks takes months to approve. So other suggestions were made...

"How about placing him with these two ladies? They would like another boy."

And I thought: Yeah, I'll bet the freaks would. I know the mother/daughter pair. They are strange. And they already have two boys, and it actually seems to be working, but one of the boys is an absolute hellion. This I thought, but I said, "No, he needs to be the focus for a while with no sibling rivalry, and he needs a father figure."

The next suggestion was in favor of a single lady who never married, but wanted kids, and already had one placed with her.

Being certain that she already had as much as she could handle, I again reinforced the need for a father figure and inquired about couples having just finished the course.

Sigh. That involved work on the part of the understaffed DFCS office. I understood. I sympathize. But dammit, this is important.

"Well, there is this one couple. Your age, no kids. They have almost all of their paperwork turned in..."

I made her head spin. "Let's call. Now!" We called from her office, and I invited the couple to my foster son's tee-ball game.

They were excited. They came. They took one look at those big, blue eyes of his and fell in love instantly.

And as my heart began to leave my body, I was thrilled that I had saved him from the system. They would adopt, and he would have a mom and dad forever.

And I would have a few weeks to get used to the idea while the couple's paperwork was rushed through the approval process.

Those few weeks and the past few weeks have been one and the same. I couldn't really begin to deal, so being a procrastinater, I simply put off the inevitable.

The call came Friday. "Pack him up; he's ready to go!" And I swallowed hard and mustered a "Wonderful...how's seven?"

And so we came home and grilled burgers and did bath-time. I taped boxes and began filling them, and tried not to cry... not until he left. I couldn't let him see me upset.

He was going to a sleepover with the nice couple he had spent the last two Saturdays with! They were going to the lake!

We had discussed moving, new mommy and daddy, and did he think it would be nice to live with this new couple? He did.

He didn't get it. I looked into his inquiring blue eyes as he watched his possessions pile into a box and I knew... he just didn't understand.

And so they came. And we carried out his things. And I hugged him ten extra times, and told him I loved him over and over, even following him as he was put into the carseat to tell him one more time.

Only then did I let the tears fall.

I made the right decision. I know this. I will see him again. They will need a babysitter, and such precious gems are hard to come by.

But this weekend has been rough. ...It's a "mommy" thing.

posted by Key on 08:44 PM | Comments (27)
» Bad Bad Juju links with: YABU DOES HAVE A HEART AND SOUL
» Velociworld links with: BETTER FOLK THAN I
» Neanderpundit links with: Og's law in action
» Gut Rumbles links with: nothing pains me worse

You have done a good job with him and I see that it hurts you in many ways about the boy. It is very hard to be a father to a child, that is not yours and I understand that. You made the right choice, I think and hope you did. It is not your problem. I know you are a very caring person and I love you for that. Take care and don't worry about it, Cat

Posted by: catfish at May 29, 2005 11:00 PM

Oh, dear God in heaven.
I honestly have no idea what you must be going through; however, reading your words I cannot help, but feel some of what you are experiencing.

You did the right thing. Where I come from it is often said: You done good, honey, you done real good.

Bless you.

Posted by: Christina at May 29, 2005 11:56 PM

Key -
The love and care you have given that little boy from the moment he came into your home will stay with him throughout his life. YOU gave him a chance. YOU introduced him to love. YOU made sure that a special couple could give him the life he deserved. YOU are a wonderful mother...and I admire you so very very much. I will keep you and that little guy in my prayers.

Posted by: Dana at May 29, 2005 11:57 PM

Key - What catfish, Christina, and Dana said. You done real good girl. Years ago I had one experience with a foster daughter and I still remember how it tore me apart when we had to put her back into "the system". You're in my prayers, young lady. All the best, Terry Reynolds

Posted by: Terry Reynolds at May 30, 2005 07:02 AM

That had to be a hard thing to do, but you're right, it was the right thing. I'm impressed that you went the extra mile to make sure the boy was placed in the right home. You'll miss him, but you'll be comforted to know he is happy and well loved.

Posted by: Dash at May 30, 2005 10:05 AM

Key...you are a 10.

Posted by: Sam at May 30, 2005 11:26 AM

Oh Key...that's gotta be the hardest thing in the world. Still, by anyone's standards you really did a fantastic job of helping the boy along. You should be proud of yourself and what you've done. God bless you and people like you, Key. People who do the stuff you do make the world a better place. You rock.

Posted by: zonker at May 30, 2005 12:46 PM

I salute you, Key, and this is a difficult thing for you, I can understand. I wish I were half the person you are. Bless you.

Posted by: Velociman at May 30, 2005 01:38 PM

You have a heart bigger than almost anyone I've ever met. And in a little spot in that child's heart, you will ALWAYS be "Mommy".

Sending you a huge hug. Wish I could deliver it in person.

Posted by: Omnibus Driver at May 30, 2005 03:29 PM

God has blessed this child with his very own guardian angel. What might have happened to him without your perseverence?

God Bless.

Posted by: jmflynny at May 30, 2005 04:35 PM


It takes a strong women to do what you have done for this child. God Bless You!


Posted by: Barbie at May 30, 2005 08:25 PM

Key -

I don't comment here but I felt I had to say something after reading this post, which brought tears to my eyes. You did make the right decision for him and, just by reading this post, I know how hard it must have been for you. {{{hugs}}} You've done a wonderful thing for him.

Posted by: Kate at May 30, 2005 10:30 PM

Thank you for careing and going the extra mile for that child.

Posted by: Maeve at May 30, 2005 11:01 PM

You are one in a million.

Posted by: Denny at May 30, 2005 11:28 PM

No one can really change the whole world. But you've changed three lives--for the better. It's amazing how the things that are the best seem to be the most painful.

The world could do with a lot more people like you.

Posted by: Samira at May 30, 2005 11:47 PM

Key, thank you and all the other selfless foster parents, especially that special couple who raised my sons for their first five years and literally saved their lives. Ten years ago, we were the adoptive parents whose papers were rushed through the channels with strings pulled by the social workers so we could adopt twin five year old boys. The foster parents were being pushed by the system to adopt but they were almost 60 and knew their home wasn't right for two active little boys. My sons grieved the loss of their foster parents, but we visited, called and wrote and will never forget them. God bless you.

Posted by: Earth Girl at May 31, 2005 12:59 AM

i came via neanderpundit. i've never been here before. much respect key. took a lot of strength.

Posted by: mlah at May 31, 2005 01:49 AM

A broken child is a terrible thing. The proper glue to reassemble them is an esoteric thing, at best, to assemble. You, staying in his life, even on the periphery, are wise. As was your decision to not break your husbands balls over his stance.

You are a wise, and special woman.

God Bless you. May He mend your broken heart.

Posted by: Bane at May 31, 2005 02:46 AM

*hugs* I feel your pain. My prayers are with you and the kiddo.

Posted by: Chablis at May 31, 2005 07:40 AM

Dear Key........from another view point......I had what was a less than desirable childhood by anyones standards......so..........Had there been a person with the quality of character and the capacity to love that you posess,i'm very sure my life would of been much better and I would not have the issues I carry daily. May God bless you more than He already has.

Posted by: Arrathorn at May 31, 2005 08:38 AM

Wow. My heart goes out to you, Key.

Posted by: Jim - PRS at May 31, 2005 03:52 PM

sweet 'n real

Posted by: neal at June 1, 2005 02:50 AM

I *applaud* your wonderful success with this boy! We went through a situation a few years ago with a boy of 12, and it nearly exploded our family into a million pieces. I had to be the *bad-guy* and say ENOUGH but, luckily, our hard work did make a difference in the long run and he has turned out to be a great kid -- he joined the Army, took some initiative to detach from his crazy biological family, married a sweet girl, and is a success after all.

Your hard work and dedication to the care of this child will come back to you, over and over again! You shall find that your *angelic* giving will be repaid.

Thank you for sharing your story!

Posted by: Kitty at June 1, 2005 12:33 PM

Words fail me.

Key, you are one special lady.

Posted by: Elisson at June 2, 2005 10:04 AM

God Bless you for your obvious unselfishness in your care of this boy. You made some hard choices, and made them out of love.

Posted by: Scott at June 3, 2005 04:03 PM

I was referred by Neanderpundit. You absolutely did the right thing, and I hope that is a continuing comfort to you as you watch the boy grow up. My greatest respects for your consideration and rejection of sanctimoniousness for your husband.

Posted by: Morenuancedthanyou at June 4, 2005 03:14 PM

Oh, Key.....
What a difficult decision! I believe, as you do, that you made the right one. And I am sooooo glad the agency kept you in the loop for placement with adoptive parents. He will love you for the rest of his live- and so will his new parents.

God Bless.....

Posted by: AFSister at June 9, 2005 09:54 AM
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