Sometimes I wonder if we made the right decision
Two weeks ago, we accepted a foster placement of an almost 2-year old girl I'll call Dakota. We thought it would be a good fit. She was just a year older than our youngest. Our other kids have demonstrated friendliness and acceptance to a couple of other foster children we've accepted in our home. I would say that we've had good experiences with previous foster children in our home (granted, they were for very short amounts of time)
Just before Dakota came to live with us, we worried about whether or not this placement would actually happen. A part of us was worried that something would prevent us from having an opportunity to care for this girl. We were very excited at the possibility though.
A lot has changed in just a month.
Dakota is a very high energy child. This means that she's constantly on the go, and eats and poops A LOT. Her curiosity gets her many places that she shouldn't be, and I feel like we're constantly correcting and redirecting her. All the while trying to remember her past and why she came to be placed into care in the first place, realizing that you need to have a different approach to children from foster care than you do your own children.
It has been incredibly difficult, and it's taking a toll on my wife and I. My wife has been bearing the brunt of the work, spending most of the day with her, trying to homeschool our other children in the meantime. Luckily the older children are somewhat independent and able to do much of their work on their own. By the time evening comes along, I try to be intentional about helping out by taking more direct responsibility for Dakota and let my wife have some time to herself.
Dakota does not like bedtime, and would much rather play and run around in her room. Once she finally does go down, we try to get as much sleep as we can, taking the same approach that many take to caring for newborns - sleep while she sleeps.
I believe it has less to do with her being a foster child, and more to do with the fact that she's nearly 2. I'm hopeful that we can move past this and come to a new normal with her in our home. However, our sanity seems to be taking a hit.
We're going to a family camp this weekend that we scheduled months ago. I'm not sure how it's going to go, as both my wife and I are very concerned how Dakota's presence is going to affect the family dynamic. If you pray, please pray for our family and for Dakota. If you don't, well, keep us in your thoughts anyway.
How have you been feeling overwhelmed lately?