Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Explaining Fostering and Adoption to a Toddler

Explaining foster care and adoption to a toddler has been an interesting journey these past two months and is nowhere close to finished, as I am sure we will continue to revisit this topic as he grows and matures. Beginning the foster/adoption process again has brought a new set of challenges, fears and emotions, not only for me, but also for Samuel.

Since we only have Gideon on the weekends right now for respite, until his parental rights are removed, that means we share his care with a foster family that does not want to adopt. After we had him the first weekend and took him back, everything seemed smooth. The weekend had been great and Samuel had done so well sharing my affections, his room, and toys. But I should have known there is always a calm before the storm.

Unbeknownst to me my tiny human had been mulling over a great many thoughts in his mind and on Sunday night he refused to settle in and go to bed. He began to rant and rave in a toddler language, meaning only half of the one sided argument was understandable. After about 20 minutes my precious boy said through tears, "Are you going to leave me?"

 I had explained what was going to happen many times to help get him ready, but he could not wrap his mind around the events. All he understood was we were getting a baby, had a baby, and then took a baby back, which meant to him that maybe I would take him back too. Talk about break my heart.

Needless to say, Samuel slept with me that night and has most nights since, not to mention I had to take that Monday off from work to support my peanut's emotional crisis.

Since then, Samuel has adjusted to the fact that he is mine and that we share the baby until he becomes our's forever. However, he always wants to know why we have to share and he does not understand what the heck we are waiting for (parental rights to be signed off). Every time we take the baby back, Samuel asks "Why" over and over and no answer does he find satisfying, he eventually just stops asking.

This past time, when we took Gideon back, the foster home had received a little girl about Sammy's age. Upon seeing her, he hugged her tight and then looked at me and said, "I want that one too!" And then he threw a royal tantrum, when we left without them, for which I carried him from the house screaming and flailing his arms and legs.

Though his understanding is limited his heart is wide open.

P.S. If you are by chance in a similar process, I am so thankful for books like Stellaluna and the television show, The Dinosaur train, which help explain adoption in a way and at a level my son can relate too.

1 comment:

  1. CarrieAnne, this is so precious! I'm sorry it's difficult for Samuel to understand right now but it is so sweet how much he loves! I am so proud of y'all!