This is a post that I have been staring at for over a month contemplating whether to share it. It needed to be processed a little because it was so raw. But I have not sugar-coated anything. It represents what is happening to me, be it good, bad or ugly:
There may ultimately be an explosion. And I do mean me. This has been a lot to deal with–this process of fostering a child to adopt. It has definitely begun to weigh down heavily on me. Maybe I was naïve or just ignorant or maybe there is just no way to have known the kind of emotional swipes that something like this could take at you. One day I even questioned the logic of taking care of someone else’s child, as if I didn’t see him as my own, as if I didn’t love him as my own. As much as I would like to think that my son is ours, he is not. So all of the changes I am going through, the exhaustion, the stress, the anger, the frustration with the uncertainty, even the guilt with how little attention is being paid to the dogs-isn’t it all sort of wasted, if they ultimately take him? Why are we putting each other through this? As much as I like the notion of helping, saving, being there for a child in need, ultimately what did I get out of it if the social worker calls us and says pack his things, he’s going home. What if what is coming down the line is all too hard and my life ends up in little pieces all over the ground. Sometimes I wonder what would happen to me if we lost him. Am I emotionally strong enough to survive that kind thing? Is anyone? My partner for the first time said what I had been thinking also–will we survive as a couple.
Last night was tough. I want to blame someone else, my partner, my son, anyone but myself for getting me into this mess. And that is exactly what I feel like–just a mess. I need a haircut, I haven’t been to the gym for a few months, my dress shoes are all scuffed up, it seems like someone else in the mirror. I am tired, stressed, complain about everything and I am probably not very fun to be around these days. I am looking for the answers but I can’t seem to get passed my big ball of ugly emotions. And the only solace that I can reach for is that all of this is temporary; that ultimately things will right themselves; that these feelings will subside or emotionally I will move to some other place. But that does not prevent me from getting throttled by this internal drama now.
In spite of all of the mess going on inside of me, I also know that nothing has changed. My partner–through good and through bad–is still here with me in my sorry state and he loves me in spite of the ugliness. He is the father that I wish every mistreated, abused, and neglected child could have. He is funny, he is smart, he is intuitive, he is loving and loveable, he is able to make it all right. It is no wonder that our son has flourished in our home. And our son is–well I wish I could explain what it means to be with him. He is bright, willful, determined, fun-loving and just plain beautiful. Often the three of us just hang out in his room–we two dads laying on the floor making a circle around the play area watching him do his thing–playing, developing, growing, getting bigger, becoming a little boy. I want to see him become a little boy. I think that that will be the biggest and hardest pain to carry around, should he end up leaving us. Someday he is going to read and write and sing and play and ride bikes and date and love and be a man. It isn’t very often that I let myself venture so far into the future to think about him in that way. I am always haunted by the reality of his foster child status that dims his future with us. Even now there is the niggling in the back of my head that he will leave; that he will not remember us; that we will never see him again.
That’s what this is all about, the fear that seems to keep me from enjoying what is happening to me. It is what seems to pollute my experience of being a father. And though it seems like everything in my life has brought me to this point–to be a dad–I just can’t seem to live in that moment enough. After everything that has happened, this great love that I have developed for this little boy, the connection that the three of us feel and the way he has become apart of the lives of everyone around us, what if it turns out that his future is limited with us and that one day soon, I will no longer be a dad–again. My life is so perfect right now, but for this one thing. In a strange way maybe that is what makes it perfect, because he like everything in life is fleeting. We have three dogs that we love dearly. We know that we will most likely outlive all three of them. One in fact is the old lady of the house and I know that we don’t have that much time left with her. That’s okay because I knew, we knew, what we were getting into by having dogs–they are not long-lived. But is that a reason to not have dogs or a reason not to have a foster son, because you know in the end your heart will break. So if it is fleeting, if it may be temporary, then that makes it more precious, right? So I just love him and enjoy him, we both do. But it doesn’t mean that all is well with me, that it doesn’t hurt often, and that I won’t again sink into despair.