Family, Foster Care, Teenagers

Coffee Chats

It has been a stressful weekend, to say the least.

S had a bit of a relapse in her feelings and stability this last week, which snowballed into some things that I’d rather not get too into detail about. Let’s just say that the worst feeling of all is seeing your child in such deep pain and not really being able to do anything. Our girl has been through so much and her past creeps up on her when she least expects it, but what she doesn’t always remember is how strong she truly is!

As foster parents, dealing with the difficult situations is well, difficult. You are supposed to treat your foster children as your own- of course, however when it comes to the difficult situations it’s quite obvious that you haven’t been around forever. When they want Mom, they want Mom and nothing you can say is going to help the fact that they can’t have her right then. I’m not going to lie when I tell you that that fact of life might just be thrown in your face from time to time! “You barely even know me!” Yeah, you’re right. What do I even say now? Here are some things I’ve learned in the last few days:

1. Don’t try to tell your child that their darkness isn’t who they are.

I kicked myself for that one. “You’re so much better than this darkness and evil” I said mindlessly as S tried to tell me how horrible the world is. While that may be true, that phrase isn’t going to make anyone feel any better. Their darkness and the negative things that they have been through absolutely make up who they are in this moment. They need to be recognized as moments of resilience. ” Yes what happened was bad, terrible and awful, but look at you now. You are caring, loving and smart! You have overcome so many challenges in your short life and prevailed.” (Is more along the lines of what I should’ve said)

2. You can never reassure someone of how much you care for them too much.

That may seem obvious to some, but for a child who lacks trust – it is the most important thing you can do. Every person who has ever told S that they care about her or will always be there for her, has proved her wrong. It takes a lot longer than 6 months to really prove your trustworthiness to someone who lacks that trust. I will admit that I have slacked a little bit, to my own standards. I always try to be inclusive and listen, but I’ll admit that the balancing act of toddler and teenager gets the best of me- which brings me to my next point.

3. You. Can. Not. Do. It. Alone.

The thing I am most thankful for in this life is the gift of my family. They are always there for me without a doubt! When we joke about the idea of the commune and giving everyone a place to work their skills, it’s literally so true in that there’s something everyone in our family can bring to the table. Hairdressers, builders, musicians, medical field, cooks, bakers, computers- anything! I always know who to call.

This weeks “highlights” to my life are my Mother in Law, Ashley and my Sister in Law, Rachel. After the less than ideal weekend, I knew that these two would have the most insight for me to grow on. Monday Morning came and they both arrived shortly after I got out of work, ready to drink way too much coffee and talk life. Our coffee chat lasted until 4 pm, when we all realized how late it had gotten while we were diving into topics that had never been discussed previously.

It was beautiful to watch Ashley and Rae talk about their troubled past, for the first time with each other since it happened. They gave me so much personal experience and ideas on how to move forward with my relationship with S. It was extremely helpful. It was exactly what I needed!

Being that Josh and I started dating nearly 10 years ago, I’ve been around for a while and when I met Rae she was just getting into her most angsty teenage years. ( Rae may or may not have hated me for a while) She was still in middle school and we didn’t really get close until much later. As for Ashley, I met her about 2 years into her “Journey to Becoming Stepmom” and we barely saw each other until I was more on my own. The relationships between Ashley and the kids was super strained when I came into the picture. Josh and Rachel have been through so much in their lives, that it took them a long time to trust her as being a constant figure to them. To make a long story short, I never really understood the relationships personally because Josh doesn’t like to talk about the difficult stuff and I barely talked to Rae. There was definitley some tension there until it seemed like one day out of the blue it was gone. It was a relieving transition.

Now that everyone has moved on, I am very close with Rae and Ashley individually! I love the development of my relationships with them. I really truly just love them both! They are the most kind, open, loving and beautiful women I have ever met. They have both been so gracious throughout the events of Josh and my relationship, whether it be breakups, pregnancy, becoming foster parents or just the day to day stuff. I am so eternally grateful that Estelle and S have them as role models in their lives. I don’t know where I would be without them, as cheesy as that sounds! I really mean it.

S has really warmed up to Rae too and bonded with her over their experiences. She is the one I have always turned too when dealing with our teenager troubles, there’s something about Rae’s tactics that brings out the girls problems and allows them to cry it out. One minute they are upstairs talking, the next minute I’m being approached by a girl with a big hug and an apology for me. Someday, I really see Rae in a career where she helps troubled teenage girls. Mark my words!

When it comes down to it Josh and I hit the jackpot for family who is there for us unconditionally.

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