The Difficult Decision To Let Go Of A Foster Child
By Diane Ponist
Letting someone go, releasing them from your life is always tough. You go over pros and cons before making the decision. Whether it’s a friend, relative or romantic relationship; that person was in your life for a reason. But it’s apparent that the connection is toxic and it’s time that the relationship ends or changes. It’s even harder when you realize that the person that isn’t working out in your life is your foster child.
I discussed in a previous article “Sadie’s” story and how she was our first foster child after DeAndre’s adoption. Sadie came to us January 27th of 2014; she was 5 years old at the time. Unfortunately over the last few months, her behavior has deteriorated from circumstances out of our control. Sadly, we thought we fixed her, that adoption would be possible before this relapse.
We enrolled her in kindergarten and dance class back in August and that seemed to really help her. Unfortunately her case changed hands in agencies and that meant visits with bio mom were changed also. So of course, the one night a week she had dance class, they scheduled her visits. Sadie had to give up on dance for the time being, it was court ordered. It was a bummer that the one night we said she was busy, they made that the day of the visit.
Once she was forced to quit the very thing that gave her the most confidence, her behavior took over our entire house. Screams and cries for no reason at all, nothing we did would calm her down. Our other children began acting out and crying often due to this. I noticed I was walking on eggshells around her just to avoid outbursts that would last for hours.
Her bio mom that was arrested for attempt of murder was then released and charges were dropped from lack of witnesses for court. So her visits were continued again. Sadie doesn’t understand why these things continue to happen. Her bio mom is one of those people that is extremely harmful but catches every break when she is in the wrong. We tried over and over to explain things to Sadie.
The week of Christmas we were able to get through to her and bring out the happiness. But once December 25th passed, the outburst came back with a vengeance! We even toyed with the idea of giving her fewer gifts for Christmas. You know, the naughty or nice list. We saw on the news that parents were “canceling Santa for ungrateful kids”. We are Foster parents, is that abusive, singling her out?! So we harped on her to be on her best behavior or Santa wouldn’t come. It did work and we gave her everything that we originally bought, although that lasted no more than 1 week.
We tried therapy, play therapy, she always changed the conversation when the therapist would talk to her. We even had an at- home intervention with the entire household. We had a tough love conversation with her on how her behavior makes everyone else feel. The conversation did nothing; she only cared about her own feelings. The boys 7 and 5 told her they cry in their bed at night when she screams for hours simply because she doesn’t feel like going to bed. We were stuck between a rock and a hard place.
We love Sadie very much, but we couldn’t keep putting the rest of the house through this. When our 5 and 7 year old children came to us and shared their feelings, we had to make a decision. We realized we were fighting to help her and make her feel better. We were determined to fix this little girl. We even spoiled her and spent extra alone time with her. The other children told us how it made them feel, we were heart-broken. We were so wrapped up in her issues that we never asked them what they were feeling. They expressed animosity towards Sadie because we spent less time with everyone else, due to Sadie’s tantrums.
We officially put in a 30 day notice to have her removed. It was not fair to our household keeping her with us. We suggested her go to a home with no other children, especially because if the attention wasn’t on her, she made everyone miserable. She would break the other children’s toys out of spite and say offensive things to the other kids. But unfortunately the notice was irrelevant when my wife had to have her removed at 9pm last Tuesday. Sadie refused to do homework and urinated on herself on purpose. When cleaned and asked to calm down in her room she slammed her face in to the wall over and over. It was no longer safe for any of us to even sleep with this going on. Sadie was removed that evening.
The hard thing is we give these children everything we have. Watch her graduate preschool, her first day of kindergarten, spoiled her with gifts and love. It doesn’t matter sometimes how much time and energy you give. It all goes away when you see the negative outweighs the positive by far! Now with her gone only a few days, we see the other foster children in our house in a new light. They are completely happy and coming out of their shell. We never saw the grasp this one negative child had over our entire household! The remorse we have is waiting so long to make this decision. We have our house back; we have a sigh of relief now that our house is all smiles again, the way it was always meant to be.
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