Sunday, August 26, 2007

I started this as a comment on Baggage's post, but it got really long. Go there, then come back.

Yup. That about sums it up.

And while we're at it, we may as well remind people that the kids being taken away is what's first on your mind all day, every day. Bump on the head? Maybe he'll be taken away. Tantrum at the grocer? Maybe he'll be taken away. Fall asleep in his bed while you lie with him to soothe nightmares? Maybe he'll be taken away. One of your pets is two weeks past due on her rabies shot? Maybe he'll be taken away. Raining every day for a month and the grass looks like a jungle because it hasn't been dry enough to mow? Maybe he'll be taken away. Kid sees your pubic hair sticking out of your swimsuit? Maybe he'll be taken away.

I am not kidding when I say that I live in fear.

Ten months ago, we said yes to a barely-three year old little boy who was so shell shocked that we wondered if he might be autistic. This little boy couldn't walk more than a few steps at a time, all the veins in his body showed bright blue through his skin, he broke out in hives each time he ate, he'd had an ear infection for 3 years, and people lied to our faces when we asked about drug exposures and behavioral issues. He couldn't breath, he couldn't sleep, he couldn't see, he couldn't hold a goddamn fork, and each time he saw an african-american man or woman, he'd scream the N word. He hit and bit and kicked, he put a pillow over my face while I slept, he told me he'd "fuxking kill me," on my birthday he told me, "I hate you and I'm never (going to) love you," when my husband asked him to give me a hug and say Happy Birthday, and once I found him eating from his diaper.

And still, we kept with him, when half a dozen other families had thrown him out after a week. We were ready to love him before we met him, and even though most of my hair fell out from stress, even though I cried myself to sleep most nights for the first four months, and even though I wanted nothing more than to run away from home and never come back, I love him with every ounce of my being. I can't imagine my life without him, and when there was a chance he'd go back to his mother last December, just a month after he came to live with us, I felt like I might die.

And now? Now, Huckle still has some problems, he is still difficult to parent, but NOTHING I described above is present. Huck runs, jumps, and does the twist. His favorite YouTube video is "Peanut Butter Jelly Time" followed by "Fish Heads." He accentuates important points with musical-theater style flourishes. He's five inches taller. He considers broccoli to be his favorite veggie, he can recite a dozen books from memory, he hugs our dogs and protects the cat, he jumps into the pool, he can breathe and sleep and hear and see, and even though his head gets turned by the Blonde Posse that is my family, he is my shadow. He gives hugs and kisses, and he means them, and his body relaxes when I hold him.

And that's the thing. The Now with Huck is worth all the Then. I look at him and think, "We did this. The three of us did this," and I am amazed at the difference that ten months with us, therapists, and doctors can make. We've already been through our own little version of hell, so as furious as I am over the banana thing, the handtowels, and all that other stuff, I can't do anything about it, because the only thing that I could do to remove that stressor is to quit, and there's no fucking way that's going to happen. We will never abandon Huck, we will never throw him back.

So there's the rub.


Maggie said...

Good post. Good, good post.

Yondalla said...

It is an excellent post.

And you have every right to be furious at the person who did that stupid inspection. Every right.

Do let us know if anything come of it. I still think there is a good chance a supervisor is going to read it and think it is just as nuts as you do.

Gawdess said...

YOu got me.

Totally and utterly.

Yay for the three of you!
Yay! Yay! Yay!

kate said...

Maggie lured me over here. While I'm not a foster parent, I so share some of your fears--and my child isn't even home yet!

I love your phrase that "The Now is worth the Then". I will remember that.

Esther said...

I love your post. I've had you on my blogroll for quite some time.

We are adopting from the Foster system as well. We are meeting our girls TOMORROW! (the girls are legally free & the state approved the adoption last week ;o)

Love your blog. Best wishes, Esther

Amanda said...

I agree with everyone else - this is an amazing post. You three have come such a long way that for someone to have the gall to talk about fruit... i mean for god's sake, fruit??... is ludicrous.

I am so sorry.

A Special Family said...

I came here from Open Window...what a great post. I can so relate!

happyadoptingmom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bacchus said...

Kudos on the post and even more importantly on the great work the three of you have done in creating a family.

Like you we always have a bowl of fresh fruit and veggies out since Baby R is big into fresh foods. Bananas in a fridge is a no no, it ruins them so fast.

Keeping good thoughts for you all.

Christine said...

I'm glad to have found your blog.

God Bless,

cloudscome said...

Yay for what the three of you have done! I am so proud of you and amazed at what your love has done.

I just can't believe that evaluation. Horrendous. It takes my breath away.

chosha said...

What you have done for him is the most important thing you will ever do. I'm so happy for you all that you can enjoy the 'now'. Every day I wish I had a child of my own to love, to read to, to show the world, to give security to. They're not so keen on single parent adoption where I live, so I don't know if I'll ever get the chance.

I understand your fears, and I'm so mad that you ever have to feel them. How could anyone take that child from you? I'm horrified at the idea of Huckle ever going back to whoever made him the way he was when he arrived. I hope he is with you till the day you die, because you're wonderful parents.

Melody said...

I'm a former foster mom who adopted them...I so know those struggles and fears. You're THE mom THE hope THE family for this child. I hope the people of the system see this rather than blinding themselves with procedure and second-third-fourth-and-more chances for the bio family.

I found your blog once and somehow lost it. Glad to see it again.

jeneflower said...

Wow. I'm crying. For him, for you, for the system, for my own feelings of wanting to run away sometimes. Thanks for the post.

cebii said...

We are in a similar boat, and it is why we are working on getting out of the system. I mean jiminy christmas, we have three teenagers and two three year olds in our house, How clean do they think it can be?