Today would have marked five months with my foster placement. She left me yesterday after a very tumultuous month filled with some highs, but mostly stress and lows. My last blog post detailed a tantrum that happened in the beginning of February, I wish I could say that the tantrums (even though they were bad) stayed on the same level. Unfortunately, the tantrums escalated and became much more aggressive and violent. During the week of 2/11, I endured three physical assaults. I sometimes scoff at the word assault because this little one is so tiny… and weights just a tad over 40 lbs., she is no heavy-weight contender… but her aggression coupled with the fact that I can’t do anything to protect myself really, made for a really sticky situation for me. I knew she couldn’t “hurt” me, but it was nerve racking just the same. There was slapping, kicking, punching, grabbing of my clothes, pulling of my hair, anything she could do to let her aggression out… that’s what she did. As I would reflect on each episode, the thing that would make me the most sad was the anger and rage I could see in her face/eyes. It made me sad because she is so young and dealing with so much, it was just too much for me to bare to see.
So how would these events start? It could be anything really, but mostly when she couldn’t get her way. If I told her to take a bath, brush her teeth, or that she couldn’t watch TV… I never knew what her response would be. Some days she would be fine, but most days… she would totally flip off. It was very stressful for me because I would never know who I was going to encounter, my nice sweet daughter or the other side. I would laugh with my friends that I was truly being abused, but then I really thought about it… I was in a way. I made excuses for why she would go off, wondering if things were my fault… maybe if I said yes when I said no, or maybe if my tone was little less edgy. I was living on edge most days. Dreading when she would wake up in the morning, dreading when I would drive to pick her up from aftercare, or when it was bath/bed time because I just never knew what was going to happen.
After the third assault, I sent pictures to both my and her social workers to show them what happened. This was by far the worst of the worst, she bit me and started throwing things around my living room… just trying to break things. The third incident happened on 2/16 which was a Saturday and of course 2/18 was a holiday, then we had a good sized snow storm, so everyone was basically out of the office. Once everything was back to normal, my social worker was the first to call me. She let me know that the behavior was not tolerable and that my daughter had to be removed (when I sent the email with the pictures, I told them that I was willing to work with my daughter, but she needed more therapeutic help). My social worker let me know that she could no longer stay with me and needed to be placed in a therapeutic foster home. She told me that she was going to talk to my daughter’s social worker to get the paperwork started for a move. I had no say in the matter. At that point I was sad, but totally relieved that soon I would not have to live in the chaos anymore. My social worker also told me that I should have called the emergency DSS number or the police when the event was unfolding. *** Side note*** Funny thing about me, I have a horrible gauge of things. Once, a doctor asks me what my pain level was after surgery and I said 3. I was asked what did 3 feel like and I likened it to stabbing. The doctor was like, no… that is a 10. LOL! Yeah, that’s me. So I couldn’t gauge if this incident was crisis line worthy. Plus when I picked up the phone to call, she calmed down… so I didn’t want to call for nothing. But I was told I SHOULD HAVE CALLED. Anyway her social worker told me she was putting in the paperwork that day, but ended up waiting a week… that is why the removal took so long. Not that I was rushing to get my daughter out at all, but it felt like ripping a bandage off slowly. I knew she had to go, but her being with me felt so normal. After a while, I just wanted the bandage to come off so I could jump in and heal.
The day finally came for her to move, I didn’t tell her because I didn’t know how she would react… so I waited for her social worker to come over. When I told her, she cried. She jumped up and wanted me to hold her, so I did (did I mention she is tiny) and she cried into my neck. I told her not to be sad and that I would still visit with her. She stopped crying when I told her I had something for her. She was so excited to see what it was. I made her a picture album filled with photos of things we did, people she met, and places we went. She loved it! I told her that whenever she missed me, she could always look at my picture in her book.
I am sad, I can’t say that I am devastated. This placement took a lot out of me. We were as opposite as opposites could be :-). She drained me a lot, but she was a lot of fun and always had a laugh or a hug when I needed it. I will miss her a ton, but I have begun enjoying my me time! So, the journey continues… but I will most likely take a break to regroup. It is really hard, and I am so grateful for the support of my friends and family. Especially my social worker/psychologist friends who have given me such great advice. Also my mom, who I would often call mid-tantrum just so that someone could be my witness to the chaos and my tone of voice. These kids have been through so much, I just feel so bad and guilty that this one had to move to another house. My goal was to keep her until she reunified with her family, but that just wasn’t in God’s plans for us. I just pray that what I did for the time she was with me will have an impact on her life in some way.
When she was leaving she asked when I would see her. I told her I would see her soon and she asked… “tomorrow?” Not that soon Chica… but soon enough!