Last week Brian and I went back to the foster classes we took in February and March to speak about receiving a placement of a child who is adoptable and the various issues that come along. It was a little nerve-wracking to openly tell people about our first three months. Because it was hairy, folks. B3 came to us only 6 months after losing his family of origin, and losing his second family (his foster family) so quickly left him with some serious abandonment issues. This is on top of his existing behavior issues and the fact that he’s three.
But as we prepared to tell these foster parents to be what to expect (ha!), we realized again (and again and again) just how far our little guy has come. It’s been ages since either of us has been hit, kicked, or bitten. The angry screaming and inconsolable crying has tapered to an occasional phenomenon, and running away in public seems to be a thing of the past. As we talk more and more about feelings and strive to give them names B3 is starting to use that knowledge to say “I’m a little sad today” or “That makes me angry”. We’ve learned that none of the plans we had for parenting are going to work, and that if your three year old is bright enough you actually can reason with them.
I was glad to share our story with folks who will probably find themselves knee deep in angry, confused, broken child within the next six months. It’s not all lollipops and sparkles, by any stretch. But sometimes your little guy sits on your lap and tells you that he’s “a little happy but a lot sad and and angry” and doesn’t know why…so you send him to “Mister Donald’s” for lunch with his daddy and he comes back feeling at least 25% better. And later you pick him up from your parents’ house and he had a great time without meltdowns and he goes to bed happier than he got up. And that’s a little tiny victory.