We still haven't found THE house. We've gone and looked at a few and are pretty certain of what we DON'T want in a house! It's so frustrating at times. It's like when I would get money for my birthday and go shopping for new clothes. If I didn't have money I could find things for daaaaays that I would want to add to my wardrobe. Got money? Nothing fits or I can't find anything I like. Same thing with the house hunt. The floor plans I'm drawn to are of houses built on a piece of land the size of a postage stamp. The houses in our price range are not the floor plan I want. Is it too much to ask for a nice house on a nice little piece of land? I don't need acres of property but come on. One house we looked at, the back yard consisted of the patio and a medium sized swingset. That's it. No grass in between the two. It'd be nice to have a little bit of a yard to play games, have friends over, whatever. The good news is we're not homeless so we can afford to be picky when it comes to a new house. I guess again, my patience will be tested.
Now...the whole foster parent thing... Some days I really struggle with what that means. As far as my heart is concerned, I am Sweet Pea's mom. I stayed up all hours of the night when she was so sick. There were nights when I listened for her breathing because I was so scared it would stop, trips to the doctor and ER, medications tracked and dispensed, snotty noses and poopy butts to be wiped, tears to be wiped away and hugs to be given, oh and teething, Lord we can't forget about the teething! I've been there for all of that. I've done all the things that moms do....but I'm not her mother. I'm taking care of her until her mother gets back on her feet. My head knows this but in my heart she'll always be MY little girl. There has been progress and Sweet Pea will soon begin having overnight visits with her family. This is both wonderful and frightening for me. I am so happy that her mother is making this progress. I am happy that it looks like there will be reunification. That is the job of the foster parent, to take care of the child until reunification or some sort of reconciliation happens. At times, I want to hate her mother, but really I feel sorry for her. I want to be judgmental and hate her for what Sweet Pea has gone through and what she'll have to go through with the transition home. At the same time, my heart breaks for this woman who is having to deal with the fact that someone else is doing all the "mom things" with her child. It saddens me that her mother was reminded, "You'll need to brace yourself for when she stays the night and might cry for mommy...you are not who she is crying for". It breaks my heart to 1) think of how that must feel for her, for her child to call another woman mommy and 2) to think of Sweet Pea crying for mommy and me not being there for her. I want to hate her for that, but for Sweet Pea's sake I need to love her. I need to love her and show her Jesus' love for her. I need to show compassion and understanding. I feel like so many people have made assumptions about her mother and this path we are all on. I had one doctor refer to Sweet Pea as a "little crack baby". That is NOT accurate at all. She is not the reason Sweet Pea was so sick when she came to us. It's wrong to assume that Sweet Pea is a "drug baby" and her mother does not deserve to get her back.
I guess God has always blessed (cursed?) me with a love and compassion for people. I've always been tenderhearted. I will cry with you even if I don't know why you're crying. I will love you and care about you even when given reasons not to. So I guess I have that going for me in my struggle as a foster parent. I hope it will make this a littler easier and pray that I can show her mother love, compassion, and give her the support she needs as she takes over parenting Sweet Pea. I'm grateful for all the support of our friends and family as we look to the day when Sweet Pea goes home. We'll need it more than you know. I fear it will be the greatest challenge I've ever faced.