…goes unpunished.” Isn’t that how the saying goes? Haven’t we been punished enough?
I wish it didn’t hurt so much to have my brother tell me that he doesn’t want our family at his sons missionary farewell. He wants the weekend to be all about his son, and I get that, I really do. I have never once questioned the safety of my family around my siblings or their children. I have never jumped to the conclusion that they are a danger to be around, or worried that they would cause a scene and detract from whatever celebration was going on. We have always opened our doors to my siblings and their families and welcomed them with open arms. That’s why I hurt every time I think about my nephew leaving for his mission soon. Sending someone on a mission is something that we will never experience with our own children. None of our kids are active in the church, all but one is engaged, married, or has children. But because we have brought children into our home who, for one reason or another, are not able to be with their families, we are no longer welcome to stay with my brothers. Even though they knew before they agreed to let us stay with them, that there was a good chance we would have both T and R with us. Now, we are being asked to get a hotel room, and to stay away except for the 1 hour farewell at church.
So let’s lay this out: R is not able to live with his family because he used to be violent; he has been in our home for over 3 weeks and has shown no sign of violent behavior, not to mention the many visits before being released from residential treatment; he is happier than we have ever seen him; we are his only hope, his last chance, at a family/home life, his other alternative being to return to residential treatment where he would stay for the rest of his life; my brother asked us to find another family to place him with while we come up for a one hour visit; we would drive for 6+ hours, each way, to spend one hour sitting in church, and maybe a few minutes saying “hi” and “bye” to family, plus we would paying for a hotel room; my brother assumed that R would not be able to cope with being around a lot of people, but he didn’t bother to ask any questions, he just said R isn’t welcome, but R is as much a part of our family as any of the other kids; all of this is based on an experience my brother’s friend had with adopting a child which resulted in the child being returned to state custody and the adopted parents divorcing. R is not his friends adopted/unadopted child. R has spent the last 3+ years in residential treatment to have his issues identified and to learn how to live with them and appropriately deal with them.
When my oldest nephew received his mission call, we all gathered around the computer and waited anxiously for a call that didn’t come in time for us to hear him read it. Their reason for excluding us? They couldn’t get skype to work right. So why not call us? There was no shortage of phones in the room. We could see them all in the video they sent us the next day.
We brought T and R into our home, into our family, because they need us, and we need them. We can’t have more kids of our own, and it’s painful to feel like we are constantly being punished because our family isn’t like the my brothers families. We started the processes of fostering and adopting, but work and school had us moving too much, and the cost to continually move our families case around was more than we could afford. In vitro was not an option because of the cost as well. Multiple attempts at using donors, all ended in miscarriages; miscarriages that each left me feeling more broken, worthless, and alone than the last.
When we got the call from T’s mom that she needed us to take him for a while, well, it just felt like the right direction to take our family in. That was the beginning. Then Jay’s brother called and ask us to consider taking R in, if and when he was ever released from residential treatment. We deal with one nasty parent of each child, and one good parent. We are almost constantly put down, verbally (sometimes through texts) abused, put down, and second guessed by the nasty parent of each child. We hear, at least once a week, that we aren’t doing enough for these kids, by parents who don’t see, don’t know, and don’t ask what we do, how we do it, or why. We see how selfish the parents are because they don’t put their child first, ever! Their nasty phone calls or messages are all about the pity party they want everyone, including their children, to throw for them. These kids are essentially our foster children, although the state is not involved, the parents and the courts are. We fight for the, when the world would sooner lock them up and walk away from them. We tolerate the abuse from nasty parents towards us, but not towards the kids. We tolerate a good parent questioning us and siding with the nasty parent. While the other good parent is trying to remove the other nasty parent from the situation altogether for the benefit of the child.
All we really want is a complete family, in whatever form that comes in for us. We may never be able to complete our family, and we certainly will never be able to complete it the way my brothers all have, with 3, 4 and 6 kids all born into the family. I’m hurt that my brother would not ask questions about R. I thought he would always have my back, but this time he didn’t. I don’t know how to move on from the hurt I feel. All we wanted was to support my nephew, and to be there to share in the celebration. Instead I just hurt that my brother doesn’t trust us, or R. He’s never even met him.
It’s not fair! Because of the decision we’ve made to open our home to help children, my family is pushing me away. I never really felt like I belonged in my family, and this just makes it worse. I worked so hard to build good relationships with my brothers only to have it overshadowed by the past of one child.