Our family is now down by one. Last Tuesday was Lillie’s last day with us. A family member finally stepped up and agreed to take her. As I packed up her clothes and some toys, I was overwhelmed with guilt and sadness. I never connected to Lillie and her tantrums and anger were something I didn’t understand. But I still felt bad that it didn’t work out. She is a child who needed help getting past the trauma she has been through. I wanted to be able to help her, I just had no clue how to. On so many levels I feel like I failed. I’ll never know if Lillie’s short stay with us helped her any. I hope it did. I hope she got to see what a “regular” family looks like and in her future will be able to reflect on that. I am very happy that Lillie was placed with a family member. It was the best possible placement for her. Lillie’s grief was centered around losing her family, I hope that being with a family member will make her feel reconnected and relieve some of that grief for her. The worst part was that we never got to say goodbye to her. It was a quick move and when she left that morning for school we didn’t know it was the last time we would see her. Since we still have her little sister Vivionna, I hope somewhere along the way we will get to see Lillie again.
Lillie taught me a lot while she was here. I learned that I do better parenting the younger children. I learned that our home, no matter how seemingly safe, healthy, loving, and fun it is, may not be a good place for certain children to live. I learned that my patience level is still very low. I learned that despite good intentions and desire, you can’t help every child. I learned that having a home that is relatively happy, peaceful and safe for everyone is the kind of home I need to maintain my sanity. I learned that parenting the children of others is so much more difficult than I could ever imagine. I learned that I have limitations and boundaries when it comes to helping children. That may not sound like a good thing, but as a foster parent I think it is. Going too far or not far enough to help a child may only hurt them more. Most of all I learned that I would like to slap the crap out of the parents who have children in foster care. The pain, disappointment, and fear they have inflicted on their children is beyond unacceptable. What’s worse is that they are so wrapped up in their issues that they don’t see what they have done, nor do they seem to care. I just don’t understand it. Maybe someday I will but for now I am just focusing on how to be a good foster parent (and parent to Jackson) and how to help the children that I can. Some days that even seems like too big of a job for this Mama.