What’s it like being the foster parent of a child who goes to a psychiatric institution?

It sucks. Feels like it sucks the life out of me.

Oh. And he ends up there for double the stay period allowed because the county can’t get it’s act together? Double sucks.

I hadn’t updated the blog for the month of January because Blue Eyes was doing pretty well. We were dealing with stuff that just seemed to be normal foster care issues. Then in February, I started to note some changes in him. One day early in the month, the school called. Yes, the school that deals with kids with emotional, behavioral and psychiatric disabilities. They said he was out of control and needed to be picked up. Husband got there and Blue Eyes was… different than we’d ever seen him. Police were called. A nine year old was taken away in handcuffs. Blue Eyes.

I have been dealing with the aftermath in my favorite way- denial. Unfortunately for me, Blue Eyes’ therapist at the hospital doesn’t let me stew in that place for long. She brings me back to reality pretty quickly. But I don’t want to face the reality of what his life is going to be like in 1 year, 3 years, or 10 years. I don’t want to think about it.

Or about how powerless I really am to effect any change.

Except through prayer.

Husband accused me yesterday of being “different” since Blue Eyes left two months ago. And I am. I am depressed. But am slowly starting to come out of it, too, as I learn to talk about it. My feelings of failure and angst and hopelessness and helplessness are beginning to subside. I stopped stalking his biological sperm donor on Facebook. I stopped I imagining running into him at Walmart and causing a scene. I stopped thinking that this is personal or happened to him because of *us*.

He lived with years of abuse. Years. Of abuse. During his most vulnerable and influential years. All that can’t be undone by a few months in my house, after the removal. The abuse will take its toll, one way or another.

I can’t think about fostering a child with hurts like this again. Am I too weak? I feel I poured myself out for him. Was that a mistake? I knew he wasn’t my “forever child”, but I wanted to make sure to love him like he was. Did I go wrong there? Because now I am left picking up the pieces as Blue Eyes is sent to residential treatment with little hope of returning to a family setting any time soon. Would I even be able to have him back in the home after all that happened? I doubt husband would support that.

And now my home is empty again. Again, I’ve gone from the ‘instant mom’ to the ‘instant married woman with no children.” Not only is my home empty, but my heart is too.

Everyone from the therapists to the agency to the GAL tell us how incredible we are. “Superstars” was used more than once to describe us. It makes my stomach turn. We are not superstars. We did not go through six years of hell like Blue Eyes did. We did not have multiple psychotic breaks even after removal from the chronic trauma, before the age of ten. We are not superstars. We were unable to protect him. We are failures.

I’ve come to realize maybe I’m not cut out for this. Maybe I just want to adopt. Not foster. Maybe I want forever.