The bad news is, yes, you are weird. The good news is that there are a lot of us.
You’ve made strange decisions regarding how your family is put together. Many of these are decisions that friends and extended family don’t always entirely understand. Even if they do understand those decisions, they might find it challenging to understand your children’s behavior and they might not understand why you respond to it in the way that you do.
It’s OK. After all, the things our kids have experienced were never supposed to happen to kids. Kids were never meant to be treated in a way that makes them terrified when you leave the house. Kids’ brains were never meant to be altered by chemicals in-utero that renders them virtually unable to predict the consequences of their actions. Kids were never meant to be given so little food for such long stretches that their brain may never outgrow the need to keep food with them at all times because they are simply afraid of being hungry. It was never supposed to be this way.
So here you are trying to navigate these things with your child. And you are doing it amidst much resistance not knowing a lot of people who are dealing with the things you are dealing with. That leaves you feeling very, very alone.
This week, I am in Colorado with a group of about 80 men from 20 states for the 1st annual Road Trip for adoptive and foster dads. It’s been an incredible time so far. (If you are a dude, you are definitely going to want to plan on coming next year. If you’re not a dude but are married to one, you are definitely going to want your dude here next year. You can get on the email update list here.) The most liberating part of being here is having interaction after interaction with people who can relate. It’s OK to be messed up, to admit feelings about this journey you’d never say to anyone else.
Hard things are harder when you’re doing them alone. Finding others on the journey helps to remind us that no matter how difficult things might be in some of our homes and no matter how strange some of our children’s behaviors (and ours) may seem to friends and family, there are others – many others – who are going through the exact same things. Knowing that is worth a lot. Being weird is a lot better when you are not doing it alone. So here’s to us – weird together.
A few questions for you to consider:
- Do you have 3 people in your life that you could call right now that to some degree have been where you’ve been?
- Have you reached out to any of them in the last week?
- As we approach the end of the year and begin looking to the next, what are three possible options out there for you and/or your spouse to get around some others who are on this journey?
This post originally appeared in our Foster Roster e-newsletter which is delivered each Friday. We keep it short and sweet and fill it with practical articles, videos, blog posts and other tools for leaders like you working to help kids and families in foster care. To sign up, go to http://bit.ly/1rwn6eO.