Sunday, March 3, 2013

Three Stages of Adjustment

We've had baby J for three weeks now and life is feeling normal again. This being our third placement, I'm realizing some patterns of adjustment that happen with each one. The kids only take about 3 days to get used to a new person in the house. A week goes by and the boys no longer wake up when the baby cries in the middle of the night. I'm so thankful for flexible children!!

Myself, well, I'm a different story. This is how I personally adjust to each placement:

Week 1 : CRYING. 
When I see the child for the first time, my heart overflows with love, compassion and a sudden need to protect them. This was especially the case with baby J, because I met him on day 4 of his little life, and in the NICU no less. As I learn about his story and why he came into care, my heart can barely take it. I cry at night, I cry when I'm feeding him, I cry when I talk to people about him. It's uncontrollable.

Week 2 : Don't forget the baby! 
We've never actually forgotten a foster child anywhere, but there is that strange moment of "wait, we need to bring more stuff with us, right? Ok, diapers, bottles, wow. We have a baby again!". It's very different from waiting 9 months for a baby's arrival. With fostering, you literally have hours to prepare yourself for the new placement and it's hard to wrap your mind around it. Once baby J came home to us, I had to make so many mental notes to take care of him and not forget anything! Dan and I hear him crying at night and say "baby's crying.... OH, THE baby is crying! We've got to feed him!".

Week 3 : A new normal.
The diaper bag is constantly updated and re-stocked. I know baby J's cries, his schedules and his needs. I feel comfortable feeding him while breaking up a fight between my older two. It's all normal stuff to us now and we're back to regular life activities. Week 3 feels so so good!!

It does take time to adjust my expectations for myself as a mother, wife and friend. Especially having a newborn placement, it's been difficult for me to be at home more often. Spontaneity is back out the window and the loneliness creeps in. With time, my confidence grows and the stress subsides and things are calm. I'm definitely looking forward to warmer weather, though! The older boys are starting to get rowdy!


Post a Comment