Thursday, September 27, 2012

fostering honesty- my first kids

We're only about eight months into this actual foster care family life, and honestly already I can see a big difference in my own kids.

I don't know if it's as much a "foster care" difference as it is just having other little people share in our family, but having a little bit more big brother/big sister responsibility has seemed to work wonders on my own kids.  I feel like changing up the dynamics of our family has been a good distraction from the "ruts" and bad relational habits (i.e. sibling fighting) I feel like we fall into.  And while it's not always a pretty picture, I think overall we're doing really well.

Honestly, going into this I was a little worried because I knew it would be a family effort... the patience and understanding and flexibility it takes seems unending sometimes.

And while one of my children is very empathetic in certain situations, she can also be quite selfish and short on patience.  And lazy.

And although my other child is, more often than not, a willing little helper, he's also only six, and even though he can be so sweet and nurturing, he's again- only six and his world can be a little self-centered.

So I didn't know what to expect from them.

Honestly according to my plan, we would have had other siblings in our house before now, so my kids are a little on the "older" end and frankly a little more set in their ways and a little more "aware" than I had foreseen when it came to throwing other and different kids in the mix.

But I'm happy to say I've seen only positive side effects so far.
I'm proud to say these kids of ours have stepped up and helped in so many ways.  They've been understanding of all the unknowns, they've been loving and tender with the newbies, and they've been reasonable about the adjustments our family has had to make depending on who is here with us.

Honestly, they've grown up a little I think.
In a little more responsible, a little less all-about-me, a little bit of a more mature kind of way.

And honestly I think it's given them more confidence.
More confidence in our family, more confidence that we're doing something that will make a difference in someone's life, and more confidence in who they are themselves and the part they play in our family.

When we first had a baby here, early last spring, SJ was hesitant to help much.  She was reluctant to hold the baby and hassled by being asked to help, go get something for me, etc.  But the longer it's been needed, the more she's done -and realized she can do- and ultimately, the more confident she's become.
Nowadays if you asked her, she would tell you she can take care of a baby all by herself and she's more than willing to help, offering to hold, entertain, keep an eye on, feed, whoever or whatever I might need a hand with here and there.

Honestly, both kids step up and do what they can, usually without even being asked.  Especially when our sometimes difficult one is being super fussy or having one of his crazy meltdowns.
They play with him and love on him and try to make him happy without prompting.  And that makes my heart happy.

Honestly I was worried about negatives of some of these situations when it comes to my first kids.
And I'm sure there will be some to come, but maybe not like I thought.
As it is, Sawyer gets a little punky when we can't spend as much time at the pool as he'd like or when I make them play downstairs during baby naptime.  But he's getting used to it.
Savannah's disappointed when I can't come have lunch at school with her on a whim, but she understands.
They've come to expect the unknowns and the non-answers when it comes the whos and whens that might make up our family at any given time.
And honestly I think the two of them are a little closer, realizing they're on the same "team" here in this adventure.

They've begun to wrap their heads around the fact that some families look and operate a whole lot differently than ours and the simplicity and security we so often take for granted here just doesn't exist for some other kids. They really do love these little kids and want to make their little life while they're here better.
It makes my heart smile and I'm so glad they recognize why we're doing what we're doing.

It's dawned on me lately-- to think that this is part of what my kids will remember about their childhood...
these babies, these friends, these siblings that they adopt for their own -whether it's permanently in our physical family or just in our hearts-... these memories and this avenue of making a difference in someone's life, and the bigger picture...
I love that my kids are growing up with this stuff simply being a part of their story.
I hope it makes a difference in their lives too.


Mom said...

I missed this somehow. I love hearing all this...XOXOXOX.

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