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.