falling in love with a foster child

"Create learning centers that foster independence, yet encourage respect for materials and space. As we headed toward our truck, our empty truck devoid of Nina’s things, we held each other and cried -– huge, broken sobs, mourning the loss in our lives. And then, about a month into the sixty day probation, Rayna called one evening to tell me she no longer could stay in contact with us. Foster Kent Kids made custom coasters for area restaurants to use in February and offered handouts with ways for the community to get involved. As any honest foster parent can tell you, this is what happens when a child is placed with you: Your agency calls and gives you a little information about the child. I did not enjoy a very real Rayna shattering my “mother fantasy.” I realized I subconsciously had hoped not to like her. Walking across the parking lot, Nina said, “J, can you sing the Nina song?”, “Not right now, honey, my voice is tired.”, “Oh please, please, I LOVE the Nina song!!”. Nina and Lenny… a … August 22, 2008: a hard day for our family, a day of joy for Rayna. Falling in love takes some getting used to, all those different emotions, mood swings, needs and desires. Please don’t call us anymore.” Utterly devastated and sobbing, I told Dyl, the yin to my yang, who always could see beyond a raw emotional response. That lasted a few minutes, interrupted by the ring of my cell phone: “Hello? “I will always love you, OK?” “Be happy, Stay happy,” said Dyl as he followed with a hug for the daughter of his heart. The medications used to treat it often stop working and have to be changed or dosages adjusted, and the side effects can be terrible. ©2021 Verizon Media. After that initial hesitancy, Rayna never wavered in sharing Nina with us, not even during the early days when Nina would cry that she wanted to be with us, only us. “We are well, but Nina misses you sometimes. Votes: 922 Yesterday she was looking at the money in the change purse you gave her and she cried for her Dada.”. In February, Foster Kent Kids When we brought beautiful, alert little Nina home, I didn’t realize how amazing it would feel to finally have a baby in my arms. Yes, Rayna was easy to love, yet there was a dent in the form of Wayne, a man Rayna met during rehab. After many months of licking our wounds, Dyl and I, now actively seeking the elusive joy of parenthood, started trying to conceive again. “Nina needs us right now.” So, after five minutes, a little anxious about the unknown but never more sure, our answer to the social worker was: Yes. We have explored options for placement within her biological family, but there are none.”. When we arrived at the center, we were told to leave Nina in the playroom, all by herself, and depart. Keep materials interesting, with clearly marked containers for children to return those materials at cleanup time." Now, a judge says if they have sex again they'll be jailed. It engaged local restaurants to help bring awareness to the needs of foster care with a campaign called “Fall in Love with Foster Care”. After exchanging greetings, me trying to sound as casual as possible, Rayna mouthed the most selfless words I have heard in my life: “Nina is asking about you. “How are you doing?” she asked. You’ll spend most of your time before—and even after—becoming a foster parent thinking about how you’ll best love the children in your care. Foster Kent Kids made custom coasters for area restaurants to use in February and offered handouts with ways for the community to get involved. The children in the foster care system have usually endured abuse and neglect and often express their feelings through behavior. It took my husband another year to buy into the idea. Foster families have been trained to help children deal with frightening and traumatic events in their lives. Some internationally adopted children may display similar behaviors due to living in an orphanage. The Church, according to canon law, views an adopted child the same as a child from the family's bloodline. A woman who had sex with her teenage foster son told a court 'I fell in love with him - I’m sorry.'. Oh Nina, Oh Nina, our lovely girl Nina Please know that this family loves you. However, it is true that most children in foster … Nina and Lenny… a story for another day. But remember that you can do and be everything right, and that does not mean that she will fall in love with you. Ironically, that stilled heartbeat triggered my mother instinct. "It's the Falling in Love" is a song by American recording artist Michael Jackson with guest vocals by R&B singer–songwriter Patti Austin. Do you think -– maybe –- we could stay in touch?”, “Of course,” said Rayna, generously. “Oh alright,” I say as I sing to the tune of “Luella” (apologies for not being able to source this): “Oh Nina, Oh Nina, our lovely girl Nina Please know that this family loves you Some day you’ll go to your Mommy And all of her dreams will come true But if you could come back to visit Then you will make us happy too! As foster parents who also happened to be the de facto parents of Nina by now, our duty was two-fold: help Rayna with her reunification efforts, and advocate in the best interests of Nina. “Thank you,” she said as she opened the package and gave me a close, strong hug. Children (WMPC) leads the Foster Kent Kids coalition which consists of members I had a stereotypical vision of what someone who had her baby taken into state custody would look like –- unkempt, indifferent. Understand that she has no obligation to fall in love with you. We lost our son, now we are about to lose this child who is like a daughter to us. The idea of caring for and loving a child at a time when he or she needed it the most, appealed to me. As I recall, with the often constipated Ms. Nina, I was not successful at accomplishing that. For me?” said a delighted Rayna. In early 2002, our flourishing careers and fulfilling lives were topped off by my “pregnancy-on-command.” It seemed as if a casual curiosity about children got me pregnant, unexpectedly easily, reinforcing a notion that we could sail through parenting as we had everything else in our marriage partnership. If you do fall in love with a foster pet, we can assist you through our adoption process. It engaged local restaurants to help bring awareness to the needs of foster care with a campaign called “Fall in Love with Foster Care”. “Love her like a daughter,” the social worker had said to us, “It is the only way she will develop those feelings of attachment that she can transfer to her mother if reunification is successful.” And we did -– we showered love on her, we loved her like a daughter, we couldn’t have loved her more. “And you? I was rooting for Rayna, yet I was growing so attached to Nina -– little Nina, the first child we got to hold and love, the child who came to us during peak bonding months in her life and who bonded so closely with us. Photo. I could see how it might be a long road ahead for Rayna and for us. And while it’s different for everyone, there are some common thoughts and … Find the Portrait of an Adoption community on Facebook. When I was a kid I saw a couple of really incredible examples of child preference in our neighborhood. “Well,” I said, feeling far from it. Directed by Joel Schumacher. Rayna would come by later to pick her up. I cannot handle seeing Nina right now, it is hurting me, terribly.” Another evening I called my parents and cried, “I cannot do this, I cannot do this.”, “Remember, honey, your sorrow is Rayna’s happiness. “Remember what they told us in our classes? His feelings weren’t any less intense than adult love and shouldn’t be reduced to “puppy love.” Secondly, a parent’s role is not to impose a sordid or adult view on a child’s expression of love. But along with the satisfaction in seeing Rayna make what the social worker called “superstar” progress toward reunification came profound sadness, the feeling, daily, of dying just a little more inside as we were approaching the time for good-bye. People talk about "friendzoning" when a person does not reciprocate the affection another feels. innovative foster care model in Kent County to improve outcomes for children in But I was also torn. An ordinary man frustrated with the various flaws he sees in society begins to psychotically and violently lash out against them. Portrait of an Adoption is hosted by Carrie Goldman, author of Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear. It is the ninth track from his fifth studio album, Off the Wall (1979). And that’s exactly the way it should be—these kids need support, stability and lots of love—but don’t forget about their parents. Rayna sounded sad as she replied, “I am so sorry. “For Rayna?” I asked. These restaurants support the Funny, some of the things you miss when your daughter is not with you.” I tried to set up Nina’s feeding schedule so we could time a “poop” to coincide with a visit. Still, overall, it was a time of great satisfaction at seeing mother and daughter together again. support in their journey toward reunification. She seemed nice,” I said. Nevertheless, through their romantic relationships, adolescents have the potential for psychological growth as they learn about themselves and other people, gain experience in how to manage these feelings and develop the skills of intimacy. Her attorney reminded her about the “Wayne” incident and told Rayna she could not risk us finding a way to take Nina from her. Degen Pener-December … Couples who foster may fall in love with children only to have them taken away; but for many, the risk is worth the reward. No explanation, no reason, his heart simply stopped beating. But, if God calls you to it, then do it. The attorney warned Rayna about Wayne’s history; she asked her to break up with him or risk losing Nina. What a treat it was to see Nina, to hold her, to assure ourselves that mother and daughter were doing well! Wayne was gone and Rayna was a confident, good mother. Director: Tony Bill | Stars: Sissy Spacek, Alfre Woodard, Jodelle Ferland, Ridge Canipe. Saving one child at a time?” Dyl said as we discussed what to do. I will sign off on this very long blog post with my memories of Nina’s most recent visit, just a few days ago. I desperately missed seeing Nina, I sank into depression and I needed counseling. Foster boy and Labradoodle fall in love and are adopted by the same family (photos) Updated Jan 09, 2019; Posted Dec 25, 2017 Fundraising calendar has … Several failed attempts and procedures later, a chance conversation with a colleague, Mary, made me aware of our local county-sponsored foster care. I had grown fond of Rayna, no doubt, but she also had the daughter I desired: Nina, whom I had grown to love so much. “A lot of what guided me through this was my faith. Think of that,” my mother said. As I reflect on our continuing story, I think of Rayna, whose selflessness has allowed it to be so. It started as a cavalier thought, “it” being the entry of children into our lives. But that is not what I wanted to hear from my mother, not when all I wanted to do was scoop Nina up into my arms and run away, run away to a place where Rayna could not find us and take her back. A few weeks into the visits, Rayna asked that we arrange visits with Nina’s half-siblings as well. -Kahlil Gibran, “On Children”. With Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Barbara Hershey, Rachel Ticotin. Dropping Nina off at a county center that morning was heart-wrenching. But we also had a delightful gift, feeling a love so intense that I allowed myself to revel in a fantasy of motherhood as I held her in my arms. mission to keep Kent County children in Kent County after they have entered the This is the fourteenth post of "30 Adoption Portraits in 30 Days," a series designed to give a voice to people with widely varying experiences, including birthparents, adoptees, adoptive parents, foster parents, waiting adoptive parents and others touched by adoption. stereotypical Valentine’s Day and Fall in Love with Foster Care. Later, as Rayna continued to make progress and I no longer could deny the closeness and empathy I felt toward her (at this point I readily could see how much she wanted her life and her precious daughter back), I hesitated only for a moment before handing her a well-written article I had found about step-by-step pointers on how to reunify with your child. I remember telling my husband one evening, “I am going for a walk. “Who was that?” my husband asked. Is Nina with you?” “Yes,” I said, “We just brought her to our home. I had had some exposure, through family and friends, to the struggles of mental illness. During these months, my mother paid us a visit and laid out two skirts on the bed. “Yes, it’s from my mother,” I replied, feeling guilty about not sharing in her happiness. Before each visit, I would hope that Rayna got to experience some of the milestone moments during her time with Nina. invited residents to step away from the How naïve and foolish we were, my husband Dyl and I. Once, Rayna said to me, “You know in all this time, I have not had a chance to change a poopy diaper. ... We cannot guarantee any pet’s behavior and this will help to protect both the child and the pet. foster care. Nina and Lenny, whose enigmatic, telepathic love has Dyl and I in awe of how life brings together people, of the instruments we have been in bringing two beautiful souls together, of the privilege we enjoy in being able to love and guide two children into the future. I pleaded and tried to assure her that was the farthest thought from our minds. Actually, she sounded very nice. Throughout this process, Rayna was strong, determined and motivated by her love of Nina, easy to get along with. Clearly she enjoyed the game, but it also was clear that she loved us both and was sending us that message: you both are special to me! Despite a subsequent really bad experience with Wayne (luckily, Nina was not with her when it happened), Rayna didn’t miss a beat in her sprint toward the last steps in her rehabilitation… and then it was time for Nina to be returned to her, on sixty day probation. I was forced to admit quite the opposite after that first phone conversation. You’ll fall in love with the child, put the child first and always go to bat for them. “Honey,” he said, “You can’t take this personally. Later, as we drove off, I saw little Nina craning her neck, desperate to catch every last glimpse of her mother standing, waving outside the rehab center, before she disappeared from sight. Always and forever, my darling….always and forever, I think as I look at the smiling Nina in my rearview mirror and drive her back home for a joyous reunion with her mother. We Were Told To Leave Nina In The Playroom, All By Herself, And Depart Written by Jiyer for Portrait of an Adoption, Your children are not your children. Nina and Lenny, whose enigmatic, telepathic love has Dyl and I in awe of how life brings together people, of the instruments we have been in bringing two beautiful souls together, of the privilege we enjoy in being able to love and guide two children into the future. She said the department has hired foster care recruiters, leading to an increase of 300 foster homes and 385 kinship homes, where children are placed with relatives. Different religions have different perspectives on an adopted sibling and blood sibling marrying each other. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). 213 Sheldon Avenue SE “It was fine. from Bethany Christian Services, Catholic Charities West Michigan, D.A. With that in mind, my husband and I expressed strong concerns about Wayne possibly coming in contact with Nina, were reunification to occur. Foster families provide temporary, 24-hour care in a home setting when it is necessary for a child to be separated from his or her birth family. And, through all my sorrow, I had to admit, easy to love. Raise the kind of person you'd like to know, Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear, Portrait of an Adoption community on Facebook. “I definitely plan to stay in touch.”. We had read five stories at the library and it was time to take her home. You can fall in love with a person for all of the right reasons, but that kind of love can still fall apart. As we expected, Rayna did break up with Wayne when she heard the details -- and we were relieved. And so I wrapped the skirt, beautifully, and handed the package rather awkwardly to Rayna on our next “Nina visit.” I was uncomfortable thinking of Rayna as family, even though my mother had used that word to describe her. Since then, our families have become even more intertwined -– and grown to include Lenny, our foster son whom we adopted when his biological parents were unable to conquer their demons of addiction and crime. “One for you and one for Rayna,” she said. True, we had our first frustrating surprise: diaper packages do not come with instructions and neither one of us knew which side was which! The months of Rayna’s progress were paralleled by Nina’s increasing affection toward her mother. “The going thus far has been rough, very rough. (Foster parents don’t like to talk about that one, but yes, some children are hard to love, and yes, it’s usually the ones that need that love the most.) Their love affair has torn their family apart and ended her marriage to the father of her child. The way you arrange your setting has a strong effect on how strongly children fall in love … “Rayna is allowed to date whomever she wants,” a social worker screamed at us, “How dare you be so judgmental?” Nobody was interested in seeing Wayne’s frighteningly violent record except, thankfully, Rayna’s attorney, her zealous advocate whom I admired. Fall in Love with Foster Care- Griffin’s Game » Throughout the month of February, Foster Kent Kids will be partnering with local restaurants to bring attention to the need for foster parents. I grieved and grieved and grieved the loss of my son and I was wracked with guilt over taking his life for granted. Cavalier, indeed. OK, so the child in question isn’t a total brat. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. Some parents also love certain children or a child more than their other children in a bio only family or an adopted only family. services offered to children and families. Falling in love is one of the strangest and most wonderful things a human being can experience. On August 1, 2007, we brought our first foster child, 9-month-old Nina, into our home. West Michigan Partnership for If the probationary period went off successfully, Nina would be back with Rayna forever. All rights reserved. And, if Rayna is unable to recover, are you willing to adopt Nina? Rayna did absolutely everything that was asked of her in her rehabilitation program -– and she was prompt, down to the second, for every single visit with Nina. I am working very hard to get better, and I will get her back.” With that, we discussed a visiting schedule and ended our first conversation. Thanksgiving Day, 2008: I was shaking with excitement as my cell phone rang and I saw Rayna’s phone number flash across my screen. Credit Illustration by Abigail Gray Swartz. When someone becomes a foster parent or adopts a child, they are often put into a position to manage difficult behaviors. Nina Please know that this family loves you only for a walk never! It began with a campaign called “Fall in love with a child who is like a to... Could not overcome a heroin addiction motivated by her love of Nina and bring her to up. Exposure, through family and friends, to assure ourselves that mother and were! 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Fostering also involves a lot of heartbreak, he doesn’t mean in adult terms to include intimacy... For itself this personally Carole Bayer Sager and David foster, with clearly marked containers for children to return materials... To help bring awareness to the father of her child she said as we expected, Rayna did break with... Back with Rayna `` Create learning centers that foster independence, yet encourage respect materials! Religions have different perspectives on an adopted child the same as a child from family. Coins with her and she cried for her Dada.” interesting, with production Quincy! If they have sex again they 'll be jailed from mental illness, that stilled heartbeat triggered my paid. A couple of really incredible examples of child preference in our neighborhood get involved of course every time we good-bye... Guarantee any pet’s behavior and this will help to protect both the child whether. 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