Giving Up on Foster Care

This a post I am terrified to write. But I’m doing it anyway, both because it helps me to write things out and because I can’t find anything like on the Internet- and I refuse to believe I am the only person to feel this way.

I was so arrogant thinking I could do this. I was not at all prepared, and I seriously do not believe my mental health can handle another placement- and I say that less than a month in and with a placement that is truthfully pretty light on “issues”- no known sexual abuse, fairly mild learning/behavior things that are perfectly reasonable and expected given the reality of foster care.

It’s very strange because I have 0 regrets about going through the process. I’m so glad we followed this dream. But I do not feel it is sustainable for me or my family. Ideally, the boys will return to their birth family within a month at their next court date and I will never do this again.

Everything I read says it’s so hard but just push through! It’s totally worth it! But I am not sure.

I don’t know if you can “quit” foster care after one placement. But I really really think I might have too.

Things change. The wind shifts. I know this.

But I also think that I have to admit that maybe I am not better than everyone else at ALL hard things. Maybe i need to calm down and just...live life instead of trying to take on ALL THE INJUSTICES.

I still feel for these kids. But I truly feel like I am not capable of making their lives any better. I am already too weary, and am I not back at full strength to take on this big thing right now. It was wrong of me to get on this journey when I am not ready- I was told that, and I did it anyway. I am incredibly disappointed in myself for that- but two wrongs do not make a right. I cannot continue on this path and put myself in a place to continually fail kids who have already been through so much when I am starting to feel in my heart that I am overwhelmed...how can I commit to that? How can I ignore what is best for everyone?

Part of me feels crazy because I wanted this and fought for it for so long. And again, I do not REGRET it or having the boys in my home. I am proud of myself and Hubs for even trying. But what if we try and fail? I’m worried that people will judge us harshly for tapping out. Can we really just go “Hey, we’re not cut out for this?”

I feel like you should be able to say that- especially when the stakes are so high. But it also feels shitty- I’ve been SO SANCTIMONIOUS  about this topic. And saying no to hurting kids...fuck that makes me feel like a monster! But so does being a shitty foster mom...

to be clear, I have not physically harmed these children or called them names or withheld food or any of the terrible foster parent cliches you see in Lifetime movies...but I do not feel like a good mother figure or equipped to deal with their baggage, which they have no control over and should not be ashamed of...and I am a big believer that something can be "not good enough" even if it's not "rock-bottom"

I truly thought I could do this. I had great intentions. I wanted to help. But I’m also reading all this shit about how people shouldn’t view themselves as saviors either and I wonder if I’m living out some white Christian do-gooder bullshit, or working through some psychological issues that I didn't realize I had.

I still think the situation of foster children needing loving homes SUCKS...I jut don’t feel like I can help with any kind of a solution.

My goal right now is to get through to the next court date on a few weeks. After that...I don’t know. I feel like I can only think of continuing on a short-term basis. Can I think of taking care of THESE BOYS, that are actually in my home and trying so hard to adjust for just a few more weeks...and no more? Is a few months enough to “give up” regarding regular life or do we have to keep going...

Hubs thinks maybe a younger, single placement would still be possible. But those are rare...which is the whole reason I initially thought we could try siblings. And I’m thinking of a million reasons why fostering is not right for ME anyway.

I thought all of my postpartum issues would make me better suited for foster care because I could understand some things...and now I'm thinking I am a fucking idiot for not realizing that this mom thing is so hard for me and I need to give myself some fucking space. Okay, this thing that is glorious for everyone else (motherhood) is good for me and again, I LOVE BABYCAKES SO FIERCELY but it it is...super tough for me to find my way. And I need to acknowledge that...and I didn't start working through those feelings for real until way too recently.

I don’t write this to scare anyone away. I still think adoption and foster care are desperately needed in a lot of cases, and that we should care about our fellow humans and try to help. But I’ve slowly learned since having having admitting to having motherhood-related mental health issues that it’s important to be realistic also...and that is something that took me YEARS to vocalize and I really didn’t understand or even attempt to say until after I was already on the hamster wheel of life Hubs & I agreed too (this is not a dig at him- we had a general idea of life, that included foster care/adoption based on MY desires, and we worked towards that...it takes a LOT for me to change plans mid-stream, and I am terrified to admit to wanting to give up on this dream).

Anyway. I hope this doesn't make anyone think I am a monster. But I also know that...being judged for this truth feels better than living a lie. And the fact that I am even considering admitting this "horrible thing" to other people so readily makes me feel like it has to be a truth because let's be real, failure is my absolute biggest fear so if I admit so readily...it's for a damn good reason.

Because I have nice internet friends who worry about me (and probably everyone involved in this situation), I'd like to say now that conversations have been had and steps taken and you will see the resolution of this story soon- I have been writing blogs as I feel the need and pre-scheduling them, so what you are seeing is slightly behind "real life" events. I thought about deleting these posts, but I wish I had been able to read about someone else struggling with me so I'm leaving them up even though being this open is really, really scary for me personally.

3 comments

  1. I will forever feel this way, but if you can't take care of yourself first, you can't take care of others and that's what this is about. Don't feel like a failure because YOU DID IT. You have to experience something, be it broccoli or fostering, to know if it's really your thing or not.

    My own experience in NOT failing was when Teh Bear moved from FL to MD to live with me. It didn't last 6 months. Not because of him but because of ME. Because I realized that the life I THOUGHT I WANTED wasn't exactly what it was cut out to be and I changed my mind and now we are BOTH happier because of it. It really sucked in the moment, but growth is painful, and we both knew that the end result would eventually be better than continuing to be in a relationship. Just like with you and fostering.

    That's the thing. You can change your mind. You can want something SOOO badly and then NOT want it. That is NOT failure. Yes, you might get judged by some people (I was raked over the coals for "making" him quit his job and move up only to send him home a few months later), but those people don't matter.

    You are not obligated to keep doing something just because you once wanted it or started doing it. Let me repeat that for you...

    YOU ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO KEEP DOING SOMETHING JUST BECAUSE YOU ONCE WANTED IT OR STARTED DOING IT.

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  2. There is NO shame in being 100% balls to the wall about something and then, once in it, realize it is not something you can do and that you are totally unprepared and need to back out of it for the good of all involved.

    We learn in triumph but we learn more in failure. Every time I have found myself in a similar situation, it has given me a better understanding of myself and others and allowed me to be less judgmental. You really don't fucking know until you're there sometimes. Better to lend support to people than judge.

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  3. You are not a monster! I think it's awesome that you tried, and it's 100% okay that it's not for you. I think you're amazing!

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