Love and Understanding
2004-05-27, 11:06 a.m.

I just read this from a dear friend I met on ICQ. She is from Australia and our lives are so similar. We laugh and say we are soul twins. Are son's even share the same birthday of the same year!

We have been a part of each others lives now for 5 years. We have both read and written about ourselves and our families. We have been there for each other always.

She sent this to me and you can see that much thought and understanding has been written.

Ok Barb now I understand. But you and Dawn both need to start focussing on the present and the future and not the past. You can't undo what's gone before but you can use it to determine where you are at present and your goals for your relationship in the future.

I think we, as foster parents, assume that because our kids aren't kicking and screaming about the kids we take in and the attention we give them, that they understand why we do what we do.

I recently tried to explain that to a friend of mine. That I hate people who patronise and say things like "You're so wonderful, I don't know how you do what you do" because I don't know how to answer them. I don't know how I do what I do or why, certainly often the negatives outweigh the positives in this work

I just do it because that's what I do and there is definitely a need for people like us to take care of what others can't, it doesn't always make me feel good and I can't honestly say I get a great deal out of it. Its often extremely frustrating and a great deal of hard work. Maybe when I was growing up I wasn't noticed much and there is an inate need to be needed.....perhaps.

You've often said that you and Dawn are alike. Maybe that's just it. My guess is that she is also struggling with this and with defining who she is. You have always been there for her and she knows you always will be. The past couple of years have seen so many huge changes in her life also, not least of all is the expectations that come with being adult, wife and mother.

I remember when I married and left home. Suddenly I was independent and that was great, but even though my life at home hadn't been great, I was still a part of that family. Once married and living apart from my family with my new husband, I was suddenly a visitor in my own home, suddenly regarded as an adult and a married woman and privy to all kinds of conversations and information I hadn't been included in before.

I was no longer the child of my parents, but a grown woman with responsibilities although inside I didn't feel any different and wanted to still have my pre-wedding status in my parents home. I felt totally left out of my family's day to day life and it hurt. I know, very confusing, but that's the way it was for me and that's the way it may be for Dawn with the added responsibility of being a mom and having 2 small children.

You are a wonderful mom and foster mom, and Dawn must work this out for herself. It concerns me that she is taking anti-psychotics at her age and agree with you that this type of medication can be affecting her mood swings and her perceptions of situations and relationships.

You also need to focus on yourself and your own needs. Tim and the boys need you as well as Dawn does. Whether or not you continue with the fostering is up to you. But you have to decide whether Dawn needs you more than the others, and how you go about being there for her without neglecting yourself and other people in your life.


She knows she can come to you if she has problems and that's all you can do for the moment. She knows how you love her and your grandchildren and would do anything for them. You've proved that many times. Now its time for Dawn to grow up and work it out for herself. That you can be there for her when needed and still be there for others, including foster children if you choose.

After all, fostering is about who you are and in a strange way, its also about each of your own children and who they are. Their experiences through your work and in their relationships with the children you've cared for has helped mould part of who they are also and how they view the world. Children of foster parents are often very much more aware of what's going on in this world than many of their friends are.

I hope that makes sense for you. Please don't let the depression take over again. It is so easy to give into it, I know. The issues you've had to face with Ruben and finally having to hand the responsibility for him on will be affecting you also. You have done wonderful things in life and its time for you to acknowledge that and give yourself a pat on the back.

But most importantly, its time to accept that you are YOU because of what you've done, where you've been and how you've handled situations and life challenges. Love yourself for who you are and not necessarily how you got to be that person. Live for today and look forward to tomorrow and the surprises it brings. The past is gone forever and we can't go back and change it.

Love always


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