Stories of Friendship, Family, Fun and Food.
All the way from the Emerald Isle!

Friday, October 22, 2010

It must be love

Living in my house is a little chaotic. Living in my house can be very stressful. Coming to visit me at my house can give you reason to question what is stuck to your shoe when you leave because you just saw a hen in the kitchen looking for food. 

But, for the most part, you might be happy enough to visit anyway because even with all the crazy chaos, there is a real sense of family in my house. I cannot take all the credit (not even half actually) because it is really due to the fact that my handsome Chef and my mother live and die for what is best for the kids. Their whole lives revolve around this and I just fall under 'one of the kids' for now seeing as I am back in school and they have gifted me 'time' to do what I love. 

Our family is different. I am different, Ron is different. We will never be referred to as 'A' typical people. Our rotten little kids are different. Rory and Jack are even a different skin colour to us. We will never blend into the background. All of this is ok with me. I have always been different. My older sister used to TORMENT me with stories of how Mum adopted me from China when I was a baby. I believed her, especially since I had dark hair and squinty eyes and was not the long lean leggy blond like her. (No resentment there at all,  I have definitely after years of therapy moved on).

A little over a year ago, the Chef and I became foster parents. Not a huge jump for us, because having adopted the kids in America we were already 'foster parents' so signing up for fostering here at home was just a formality. Seven months ago we received 2 little Irish girls into our home and they will be living with us for a very long time. They are now part of our very 'different' family. 

I have done my best to settle them into our family life whilst making sure that I keep them at arms length because I can't handle the thoughts of them ever leaving and being farther away than arms length from me. Last year we went through an intensive 'Foster-Parenting' training class and it really helped prepare us for the roller coaster ride of emotions you are going to experience once you receive a child (or children) into your home. 

Or so I thought. 

I thought, that I had kept my distance. I thought that even though we treat them as one of our own, I have still managed to keep my well-built-wall up around 'me' to make sure that I will not fall apart if they ever get moved to a different foster family or even back to their birth family. 

That was until this morning. Until about ten minutes ago. When our 'baby' went into surgery to have a few fillings. I am totally downplaying the 'few fillings' because it is a very serious surgery the wee imp HAS to have due to severe parental neglect and lack of nutrition.

I roused her tousled head around half past five this morning and we headed out under the glossy Galway stars to the very fancy schmancy Galway Clinic. We were greeted at the door by the 'Head Sister' and she whirled us into the prep-room and got Lulu ready for her big operation. They also got 'Teddy Ready'. All went very well, and she was a total trooper. Not a peep out of her and no anxiety to be seen on her side or mine. I had my bag of school books and my laptop packed away to while away the hours whilst they operate and she recuperates.

All went well, that is, until my wall came crashing down. Those lovely nurses are obviously clueless as to the protective barriers a foster-mum has to have in place. They must have known that referring to me as the child's mother would have damaged me beyond repair. Or maybe they planned it all well in advance, you know like 'Look at softy over there, she looks like an easy target, let's make her cry today', that's what they said, I know it.

So there I was, laptop ready, just waiting for them to give her her 'sleeping gas' and let me off for a few hours of very important 'facebooking' when it happened. The nurses told Lulu to 'hold Mammy's hand and look right in to 'Mammy's eyes' because Mammy and Daddy love you more than anything and as soon as you wake up Mammy will be there waiting for you'. 

ENOUGH WITH THE MAMMY . . . . .. . . . . . Why that little imp did not explain that I was not her mammy is not important. All that matters is that I managed to NOT BAWL my head of until I got outside the theater doors with the hopes that the lovely surgeon did not see what a total feckin eejit I am.

Being a Mum (Bio/Foster/Adopt - a Mum of any kind) is obviously one of the most rewarding things imaginable. The capacity to love is endless. I do not know how I can spread my self so thin to offer love to all the people in our growing family and circle of friends. But I can. It feels like a bottomless pit. There is always more love, to give. 

And now I know, that my wall has come crashing down and no matter how hard I try, I will not be able to prevent 'loving' these little kids. 

It must - Be Love.

Those are all the WiseBlubberingWords I have for this damp morning in Galway,


PS - the nurses and doctors and all the staff in general at this place are amazing. I almost can't wait to be sick and need to check in for a few days :0)


Lorna said...

HI Mona, thank you so much for visiting my blog and I'm delighted to have found yours. Goodness, no wonder your life is chaotic - 4 kids and college! I went back to college as a mature student (aged 24!) and loved it, soaked in every little bit of knowledge I could - am now aged 41 and can't remember a bit. Your children are beautiful.
I really admire you fostering, many people have asked us would we do it and I don't think I could - how could I cope if they went back to their parents (esp if I didn't agree with the decision) etc etc. All I can say is - wow!

WiseMóna said...

Hi Lorna,
Thank you! You know, fostering is not for everyone
I agree, but for the most part the HSE does not
remove kids from a stable loving environment unless
They are going to be returned to the same
Kind of 'life' .... It is the hardest part but I would still
encourage you to dip your toes in. We started by just
offering weekend respite for kids and last summer
was so much fun!! Anyway you have an exciting road
ahead and I will be sure to stay tuned!

Lorna said...

Hi Mona,
I have heard of a couple of situations where fostered kids visit their parents every third weekend and are up the walls then when they come back. Foster parents are at their wits end, while they recognise the good in the children having contact with the parents, they are emotionally and physically wrung out having to pick up the pieces.
I look forward to following your blog :-)

WiseMóna said...

There is no denying the fact that this happens. Our little ladies see their birth-mum sometimes as often as once a week but only for one hour.

I had to lay down the ground rules. In the beginning it was all sweets, coke and crap and a sugar rush (followed by a crash) that lasted a few days. The kids attitude totally shifted 'back to brat' and it was very stressful for us all.

However, once I highlighted the facts to birth-mum and social worker (that all the kids were interested in was 'what present or junk food Mum was going to give them') then the attitude changed.

Now, there are visits, where birth-mum spends her hour with them doing activities and just chatting. No presents unless birthday/occasion and even if they get sweeties they know to be thankful and put them in their pockets to share after dinner with the other kids at home.

They now (after 7 months) really are benefiting from the visits, and are also very happy to come back home to us. It is a win-win.

BUT, the foster parents have to make it happen. You have to stand your ground and almost orchestrate these meetings keeping 'what is best for the kids' at the forefront of your thoughts and decisions at all times.

We factored in what was best for the girls, followed by what was best for the rest of the family unit when agreeing to the visits. No regrets here.

Abbie Lynn Samuels said...

Hey there WiseMona.......i'be been busy busy and haven't been able to keep up with your wise-ass....i mean wise-ness :) So i am doing a little catch-up tonight. I just read "it must be love". All i can say is keep up the good work and hang in there....i know it's awfully tough doing it All....from one "different" to day there will be rest.........Yeah right! xxlove from the us of a

WiseMóna said...

Thanks Abbie Lynn, and I know you are kept busy! Nice to hear from you all the same :0)

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