By Diane Ponist
This post is not about one specific child of mine, but all of them. I’m sure many people can relate to co-parenting with someone that they are not in a romantic relationship. This comes from Kristin and me debugging our children and their visits with family members that steer these children differently from how we raise our them.
Any single parent or foster parent at one time or another are on this same page. Children are told something that may or may not be true and you’re forced to elaborate or correct what is being said. For us, it’s the bios saying “ you are coming home soon” or similar comments that are not the case, at least right now. We even have issues over feeding the kids junk food in their one hour visit. Then we are left with the repercussions of frequent bathroom breaks or tummy issues for days. Each visit seems to have a turn around time until we get back to normal, physically and emotionally.
Many people deal with this for long periods of time and I have no idea how they keep their sanity! It’s very draining having a medically fragile child given the wrong drink so that she is sick for the next several days. This is even after stressing the last time not to give that to the child, “her stomach can’t handle that much liquid.” Or, having someone that sees a child once every few weeks tell you said child’s likes and dislikes as if you don’t do the day-to-day. But for the child, we just brush it off because it’s not like anyone knows or cares what we have to fix the damage done during their very short time together.
As foster parents we co-parent as a married couple, but also with those who still have visits with the children. It’s never really a thank you for raising their children or relative. It’s more like questioning the fact that kids can eat more or how to do their hair. To us it just mind boggling how one cannot buy clothes or food for their own child, but dictate how someone else is picking up their slack. Even though we may vent to each other, we also shrug it off and keep moving.
For us it seems like so long but it is not, it is only for a few months or a year or two. Our hats go off to those who do this or have been doing this for long periods of time. I want to say thank you for raising these children. You are doing great and we need a lot more people like you fighting for what is right and healthy for these children.