Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Thoughts of which I am not proud



Answering the call to become a foster parent comes with a certain righteousness. At first anyway. Then comes the nitty gritty of raising a child that is not your own. Or your own race. I'm going to lay out some petty thoughts here. Feel free to judge. I know I do.

We were at the YMCA gymnastic center and chubby white girl (age 10 or so) started following around our African American foster daughter (Tulip age 4). Like my foster daughter was a special rock star or something. My husband and I shot each other a look. There are just some white girls that love to chase African Americans around. It's a special category of the white trash. Emulating the ghetto fabulousness of it all. There was even an African american boy that the chubby white girl started latching on to. And my husband and said to each other, there is a biracial baby in her future. You all know what I'm talking about. We've all been to walmart.

Now remember, I'm not proud of these thoughts.

At a gas station restroom I was helping Tulip wash her hands. A grown up version of the chubby white girl came out with her biracial girl. She made the deepest, knowingest, 'well hey girlfriend' type of eye contact with me. And I wanted to say "THIS IS MY FOSTER DAUGHTER. AND HER SKIN IS SUPER DARK. YOU CAN SEE SHE'S NOT BIRACIAL RIGHT? I AM NOT ONE OF YOUR TRIBE." But, I just smiled and got on with my life.

Then there's the thoughts about Tulip's birth mom. I'm coming to realize that she really really REALLY values Tulip's looks. Every time she gets a visit with mom she gets new clothes, new shoes and 150 dollar hair extensions. Ok, the hair extensions were a one time thing but still. The child is four. Then, THEN we get emails from the social worker about how Tulip's mom doesn't like how we're doing her hair or how she's dressed. Sometimes, when she calls Tulip, she asks to speak with me to outline these grievances. It was all I could do not to crawl through the phone.

My anger and resentment with the mom is getting kind of big lately. I'm really not proud of this. I'm tired. Tulip is starting to have behaviors. Mild ones so far--being stubborn, screaming when she's put on a time out, ripping at posters on the walls, hiding objects (the other kid's toys) in her bed . . . . all stuff we're spending time correcting. Every day she cries for her mom and asks when her mom will come get her.

And as far as I can see. . . there is nothing wrong with mom. She's not addicted, in jail, abusive or neglectful. She obviously loves Tulip. So why isn't she coming to get her daughter? She has a job, an apartment and had raised for the last four years. She's had her "break" to get together. It's been three months.

Then the really evil thoughts kick in.

What if Tulip's mom just doesn't want to be her mom. What if she just wants a doll that she can dress up, then leave with other people so she can live the single crazy life.

AND that's where the righteousness of being a foster parent wears off. It seems we are serving a selfish birth mom here. So she can be all footlose and fancy free. And I want to tell the social worker to give the birth mom a big kick in the hinder and get her to take her little girl back. Because Tulip misses her mom so much. And I'm tired.

but I can't force her to take responsibility for her daughter. I can't dictate anything the Mom does. I'm not here for her. I'm here for Tulip. And I pray I'm doing everything that needs to be done.

And I'm making mistakes and screwing up. But I'm here for Tulip. Hugging her and comforting her. Putting her on time outs in the MIDDLE OF TARGET. And making sure she knows she is beautiful, not because of the clothes, but because GOD made her. And God made her beautiful.

That's something I can be proud of.

3 Left a message at the beep:

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Oh, honey. What a blunt post--I cannot imagine NOT having judgement in my heart if I was fostering a child. It's impossible to take on another person's burden and not feel some resentment. Hugs to you--poor Tulip doesn't know it yet, but she eventually will clue in on how she is valued by whom. Thank goodness you're standing in the gap to tell her that God loves her WHOLE person, not just the outside.

Bruce Johnson said...

Well, this takes me back to the old Foster Care Review Board days (15 years of Foster Care oversight). I can certainly emphize with you regarding the toy child concept of many bio-moms. I saw it time and time again. They 'love' the child, but love their independence more. They want a full time nanny to take care of their child while they go out and party with the bad boys and lead a lifestyle of the the rich and famous (hard to do that with a kid in tow). So they let the state do it....for FREE (cha-ching - Score!). Arizona used to let them get away with this forever until about 8 years ago when they changed the laws. They have 2 years to get their act together and get the child back. If not, it is fast track to severance and adoption. Which creates a bunch of other issues, which is not enough adoptive families .... but that is another story. Regardless, keep up the Great Work!!!

Christine Bewley said...

Kudos to you for not just telling her mom off. I'd never be able to keep my cool. What right does she have to complain about how you raise her? She gave up that right when she quit caring for her own daughter, in my opinion. You guys keep up the good work. One day little Tulip will look back on her time with you guys and remember how much you cared for her with your whole heart and not just a pocketbook.

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