With more out loud thinking about foster care.
This issue just grows more important to me as the days go by.
On Saturday evening I was able to be part of a forever family celebration. A very beloved family. My daughter's ceremony/reception blessed a couple hundred close family and friends as she invited us to share this amazing event. Julianna wrote vows and read them to the children. Her kids new chosen-by-them names were blessed, and hands were laid on them as prayers were said.
Then dozens of kids played on swings in the trees, slid down the slip and slide in the back pasture and played with edible bubbles, noisemakers, each other and dogs. The evening was a glorious celebration indeed.
It wouldn't have happened if the bio parents had not forfeited their rights due to multiple, multiple choices they made to lose those children. As I've said before I do get drug addiction. I understand how generational addictions become curses, wrapping heavy chains of dysfunction around the necks of the young and innocent. Dragging members of those families down into quagmire that seems somehow safe because it is the only darkness they've come to know. And I mourn this. I would never, never, never wish this life on any one. And to think that it begins with little ones who don't have the ability to reason, or understand that what is happening to them, in their family, is not normal. Is not okay. That breaks my heart.
But, when these children grow older, and begin to follow the pattern set for them, even embrace it, how many chances should they get when they began to have children of their own and incorporate them right into the toxic family stew?
I am certain that the biological parents of my forever grandchildren love them. But I don't believe they have what it takes to nurture, to choose what's best for those children no matter how difficult it is for them to help that happen. To successfully nurture a child you can not be selfish 90% of the time. You choose to put your vices aside to make sure the kids have food that can feed them rather than harm them. To nurture your child you take time to listen to them. To ask questions to further understand them. You apologize if you are wrong as a parent. You read to your children, you talk to your children, you remember important dates to your children. You show up to pick them up when you say you will. You pick caregivers who are safe. These parents were unable to provide nurture, the children reacted to that neglect, the crazy cycle kicked in and nothing successful was happening. When sobriety is a fragile as strand of spider silk, and hurt and angry children are pushing and pulling on that string, the end result is not pretty.
How many chances is okay to give these parents? How many scars do we let them inflict, how many experiences do we allow them to have that will cement the idea that addiction is normal into their little minds? At what point in a life of a child do we consider that their mental and emotional health can indeed be permanently altered negatively by the choices of parents? And that this is an abuse that warrants immediate end to the yo-yo of reunification?
Change. I've learned to embrace it, ride it out til the end. Sometimes I'm kicking and screaming, other times weeping with my eyes clinched tight. Once in awhile I ride like a dog in a car, head out the window snorting what life has to offer. Mother to young adult children, a marriage of thirty years, and a desert to mountain to valley waltz with God have shaped me into someone I never imagined I'd be. Life is short and I want to live it. Tears, sighs, laughter and change. Every morsel granted to me. Scrambled, shaken or stirred.