I have gotten some questions recently about how the attachment process is going with the kids. I can’t really answer that in one easy answer so I will address each kid individually.
P – (Warning to P’s foster parents that read this, tear alert) He is by far having the hardest time. We are seeing so much anger and confusion in this young man. Sometimes I find him crying in his room and he has no idea why. I think the reality of the situation of his life is sinking in. That he was born into a birth family, lived with a foster family for a little bit of time, and now lives with us forever. We have a LOT of questions about foster family and why he can’t live there and if they loved and wanted him. This breaks my heart to be honest. To see a 3 year old grieving over people that truly do love him and want the best for him is hard. Sometimes when this happens I just rock him and talk to him about what his life was like with them (what I know of it). Things such as they had a dog named ____, you played and dug in the backyard, there was a trampoline, you would go to church with them, ect. I tell him how much they loved him and miss him. How important he is to them but also how important it is to have a forever family. That the foster family took such good care of him and helped Joel and I get to know him and learn what he needed. I tell him that I am sure they still miss him and are excited to see him when we get together again. There are some questions about birth family, but for P there are many more questions about foster family.
P’s loss and grief are coming out most in aggression. We have seen intentionally trying to hurt people, lack of control when angry. We set some pretty basic safety limits and help him follow them. Such as if he is throwing things at people he needs to go to his room as he is not being safe. Then I stand in his doorway until he calms down and help him process. Attachment wise, the thing that is more noticeably (and hilarious) is that P comes to us for comfort, EVEN when we are why he is mad. For example, I take away a hard toy because he threw it at someone and he gets so angry and starts crying and reaches up for me to hold him.
C – She is a hard one to read. She at times hides her true feelings. There have been MANY MANY more hugs and kisses in the past 2 months. Many more snuggles and most noticeably, many more times that she comes and seeks us out when she is hurt or angry. We are seeing less and less behaviors and more of C coming to tell us when things are going wrong or are frustrating her. There are days that are hard and where she takes everything that happens as personal against her, but then again so do I! We are settling into a routine and the only issue we have had currently is social skills with peers (i.e. not telling them what to do). I think that she is going to be a GREAT leader or boss someday
S – She is another one that is hard to read. She likes her individual time and spends a lot of time in her room, but also loves to hang out with Joel and I after the little two are in bed. She is getting to the point where if something is bothering her (i.e. if something happened at school or with a friend) she tells us right away. We still notice the knee-jerk reactions and lying when she thinks she is in trouble so we are learning to ask her things in a different way. Instead of “Did you use the liquid bandaid?” we ask “Are you hurt or do you have a cut?” This drastically lowers her intense reaction. There are still some relationship issues with S and C and P but S is doing a great job learning to be a good model instead of telling others what to do. I think the best example of where S is out is what happened after school the other day. Evidently they were talking about grief and loss in health class and when I picked her up she was in tears and sobbing. I pulled over and gave her a hug and when we got home we just cuddled on the couch until she was calmer. We ended up having a good rest of the night. When she and Joel were going down to tuck her in she gave me a hug (not unusual) but also asked if she could give me a cheek kiss. Now the little ones have been giving me cheek kisses for a while now and I usually kiss S’s cheek or forehead when I give her a hug, but up until this point I have gotten no kisses from S. It was so heartwarming and I think I was happier about it then I needed to be. 🙂
So we are seeing progress in some areas, and progress in the fact that the kids are letting down their walls and showing us how they really feel.