Disrupt? Find a Solution?

We’ve hit a snag, that if not resolved, could result in us asking for our two foster kids to be removed. Yeah, I know. That’s pretty major!  I can’t believe hubby and I are at this point. Here’s what’s going on.

Our foster children, 9-year-old Watchful and 10-year-old Joyful, have serious issues with women, because their mom physically and emotionally abused them for all their life. They have been ganging up on our biological daughter, 14-year-old Sassy. To make matters worse, they’ve been recruiting our 16-year-old adoptive son, Silent One, in ostracizing her. The ring leader is Joyful, who loves to wreak havoc and turn people against each other.

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(Photo not of our actual children.)

Sassy started boarding school this year, so she’s not living at home. (The local public schools couldn’t meet her educational needs.) She is already struggling with fitting in at her new school. The ostracizing is making her feel like she no longer belongs in our family and that she was “sent away,” because she was unwanted. When she comes home on weekends and holidays, the kids don’t play with her and say mean things.

Sassy is trying hard. She bakes them cookies and makes them meals. She offers to play board games and watch movies with them. She’s given Joyful many of her possessions, like furniture and favorite clothes. Don’t get me wrong. Sassy is a dramatic teenaged girl, and can try people’s patience, like teenagers are famous for doing. She’s not perfect, but she doesn’t deserve to be rejected and belittled. No one deserves that.

Intellectually, I can understand that Joyful and Watchful don’t trust women, because women in their mind equal horrible abuse. Intellectually, I can understand that since their birth family dynamic included a golden child, a middle child, and a scape goat, they are trying to recreate that in our home. I get that Joyful fears that, if she becomes the child on the bottom, she will be severely abused. So she is trying to force someone else into that role in order to protect herself.

But our line in fostering has always been that we will not allow our permanent children to be hurt.

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I can’t imagine putting Joyful and Watchful through the pain of a disrupted foster care placement. I can’t imagine letting our daughter be scarred by them as they ridicule her and emotionally push her out of our family.

This issue really came to a head over the past week and our home-based therapist has some good insights. We’ve got some things we might be able to try. We really want to make this work for everyone. But ultimately? If Joyful can’t turn it around pretty quickly, we might have to make a heart wrenching decision.

Whatever it is that you do – prayers, thoughts, good vibes, nice comments – please keep us in mind. We need as much support as possible to get through this – all of us!!!

15 thoughts on “Disrupt? Find a Solution?

  1. What a tough situation to be in. I pray that God will speak into Joyful’s heart and help her recognize that your home is a safe home. That she slowly lets her walls come down in your care so she can feel love like she never has before. Dear Lord protect all the children in this home and guard their hearts from potential hurt and trauma.

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  2. That is such a difficult place to be in! I will definitely be praying for your family as this is such a difficult decision for you all to make. Praying that the strategies will work and that everyone will find a place of security and love within your home. Thinking of you all!

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  3. My thoughts are with you. It’s a hard, hard work you’re doing, and regardless of the decision you make, I believe that you’ll choose what’s best for your family. Don’t let the haters get you down.

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  4. I just got done reading on another blog that one of the things their family had learned to do is instead of spending time scolding and explaining the wrongs with the attacker/instigator of troubled behaviors towards another sibling, they learned from a counselor to embrace the victim and give a one line scolding to the attacker. This showed the victim (in their case an older child) that they were very important and loved, and it showed the attacker that they could not steal the attention away by behaving badly (since when previously they had behaved badly the parents took longer with them scolding them and talking about different ways they could have handled it.) So the child realized that being nasty to the other child only brought attention to the other child not their self.

    Am wondering also if Joyful is afraid of being “sent away” like Sassy?

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    1. Thanks for the excellent pointers, Pam. I like the idea of giving more attention to the victim. The therapist here says mainly Joyful doesn’t see shades of grey. So if a person is generally nice, but did something like not share a brownie, Joyful views that person as 100% saint ignoring the lack of sharing or she views them as 100% evil, focusing only on the brownie. We’re working on helping her see people are more complex than that and giving her skills for repairing relationships when someone does something she doesn’t like.

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