Friday, October 14, 2011

Fostering revisited

It was almost 1 year ago that I started taking these foster parenting classes and almost 1 year that I have worked to make fostering a reality. But the reality of that situation is that it does take more then just a strong desire to foster a child. You have a bunch of tiny rules about the house situation and living arraignments that the state requires in order for a foster child to live with you.   Regardless to say, once I finished these classes and started the next step of the fostering process, which is the home study, I quickly learned that my apartment would fail miserable.

 Let me break down some of the requirements for you and you’ll see why. Ok first and foremost is something that I can’t even have control of. Your address must be clearly visible on the home, facility, or mailbox so that firefighters or medics can easily find your location.  Ok yeah so I fail on all accounts on this one. My house number isn’t listed anywhere on the building. All that is listed is that the building number is J. I went to my office to ask if I could put something out on the car port and they said no.  I also learned that if I call 911 all the pops up is the street going into my apartment complex. But getting around is something they would be totally dependant on using the marked signs. Sadly that means that they wouldn’t be able to find my building; because no where on the street, parking lot or outside does it list my actual home address. So right off the bat I fail my home study.  Unless I move into a place that is a bit better and more clearly marked.

Just for kicks lets go with a few other of the rules I fail on you must ensure children in your care or placed in your home are safe around bodies of water. You must place a fence designed to discourage climbing and have a locking gate around a pool or have another DLR approved safety device. You must lock or secure areas when they are not in use and the pool must be inaccessible to children when not in use.  Ok so I know that I don’t have a pool or hot tub in my house but I do have a huge ass turtle pond that hold a ton of gallons that I’m sure a kid could drown in. Now I know that some of you think the easy answer is to just get rid of the turtles and problems solved. But I will not think of that as an option. I signed up to have those pets for their life and I’ll not be one of those irresponsible pet owners who just throws something aside once a child comes in the picture.  So what are my options with the turtles? Well I could build a secure fence… Um hard to do in the middle of a dining room. Or I could keep them behind a locked door all the time, unless the children are under immediate supervision when they want to see or spend time with them.   Ok that’s doable. All I need is to have a 3rd bedroom with a heavy door, a lock and problem solved. But unfortunately that third bedroom I don’t have right now so again moving would have to happen.

Ok this kind of goes along with the last one… In a foster home you must not have any common household pets, exotic pets, animals, birds, insects, reptiles, or fish that are dangerous to the children in care. The department, at its discretion, may limit the type and number of common household pets, exotic pets, animals, birds, insects, reptiles or fish if the department determines there are risks to the children in care.  Now my turtles and tortoises are no way a dangerous animal.   But maybe the fact that I have ten of them in total could be a problem.  It might not be, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is at the very least a concern.  So again the answer is to get rid of some, but I guess I am having a hard time seeing that as a real option.  But along with them I do have a dog and two cats so again a little more then the typical person to pet ration and maybe could be seen as an issue. But again I’m in no way giving up a pet for a foster kid, so if they cant exist hand in hand this fostering isn’t the right thing for me. Problem solved.

Multilevel homes and facilities must have a means of escape from an upper floor. If a fire ladder is needed to escape from an upper story window, it must be functional and stored in a location that is easily accessible. Also the ground that is being accessed must be level and free from unstable materials and surfaces.  Ok so this is another of those unable to be changed things that I automatically fail just by the location of my apartment. So yeah I’m on the third floor. And unfortunately the ground below the window that my foster child would be accessing is a rock wall framing the parking lot. Not so level or free from unstable conditions. Fail again. Solution is moving into a place that’s all on one floor or only with one story where my foster kids cold climb into a soft yard if the house is burning down. 

OK I think I have made my point. See here is what I have learned. In order to even think about becoming a foster parent I have to find a new place to call home. It looks like it would have to have three bedrooms so that I could lock all the turtles into one specific room and keep them safe from the kids. I hopefully would be able to find something that is all on one story because another rule is that an adult must be on the same floor and unrestricted access to where children under ten years of age are sleeping.  So yeah can’t have like a downstairs master bedroom or shove the kid in a basement room, unless I want to get teenagers.  Which is a big No cause I don’t want teenagers.  Oh another great house rule is that for kids under 6 you must have a bath tub oh and there must be a bathroom on the same floor as the bedroom for kids under 10. See all sorts of just random little things that make for getting your home approved difficult.

So these last few months I have just kind figured that once my lease is up I would just find a nice little rental house to move to and continue where I left off with the home study stuff. But as I now have started to look for houses I’m finding it so difficult to even find something affordable, much less that fits all these requirements. It’s making me discouraged and starting to question if I really am feeling like this is the right time in my life to become a foster parent. I mean what’s the rush. Sadly there will always be a need for some one like me in a year or two when maybe I’ll have different circumstances and find moving to be easier.  It sucks that I am thinking about giving it up… No not giving up… Putting off something that I had found so much passion for. I remember back a year ago that since of joy I found in finding my path in life. Maybe it still is my path but just not my path right now. Maybe I have a bunch of overgrown bushes I have to clear away before I can start traveling down it.  I hope that’s all it is. But now I am left  kind of sitting here totally unsure where I want my next year to go and even more unsure how to go about figuring that out.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I have always wrestled with feelings of worthlessness. How do you know if you mean something or if your life actually matters? I mean I know that in terms of the universe my existence is pretty insignificant, but how about if I matter to the people around me on a day to day basis. I think that I do, but I have always had this wall that I can’t push past and say with confidence that yes I do.   I’ve always been very good at justifying these worthless feeling and allowing them to be a part of who I am and what I have become. I am easy to say things like “if you had some of the things happen to me then you would feel like this too” or “so many of the people who should show me how much I am worth have instead done the opposite” When I really sit and explore this whole worthlessness stuff, I know that I use those phrases as a crutch. I use the worthlessness thing as kind of crutch.  So what is worth exactly? According to the dictionary, it’s the quality that renders something desirable, useful, or valuable and that commands esteem or respect, and merit. So how does my lack of worth really affect my life? I figure it kind of allows for two very specific things.

One is that feeling worthless is a safe option because it reduces the amount of pain you suffer when things go wrong. If you already know that you're no good and that no one will fall in love with you, or give you a chance, or even care enough to listen to you, then when a rejection occurs  - which it certainly will because it happens to all of us - then you're better prepared than most. You can say: “you can't ruin my life because I already knew this was going to happen; I already knew that you didn't really love me/want me/value me!"

The other is that feeling worthless is an easy option; if you're worthless there's no need to try to do well and succeed in the things that matter to you because there is simply no point. Also, if you act as if your opinions and your desires are all worthless then people leave you alone. If you say you have no remarkable skills or talents then there is no need to apply them. If you say that you are a useless then people will expect far less from you. And just maybe you could get lots of sympathy and perhaps even another person (on a white horse in shining armor) coming to your rescue to sort your life out for you.  Wow isn’t that like every child hood girls fantasy… I know its mine even if I hate to admit that.

Crazy that when I really look it up this is what I come too. I started this blog because I wanted to explore why I have such a hard time finding happiness in some of the aspects of my life where those around me find happiness so easily.  This is a prime example of where I self sabotage before I ever start.  So how can I increase my sense of “worth”? You cannot earn it through what you do. Happiness is not obtained solely by your achievements. Self-worth based on accomplishments is “pseudo-esteem”; it’s simply not the real thing. I have always been very confident in the work that I do and my job.  I tend to use it as my “one thing” I am good at. It has allowed me to ignore all those other areas where I instead think I am worthless.  I also think that I am an amazing person… But the worthless side of me is so horrified of making new friends that very few people actually know that about me, and instead I throw myself into the one really great relationship I have. I become this super best friend who would drop everything  and kill for my friend, because being this super friend give me that sense of worth I don’t get otherwise.  Weird… Sometimes writing this is very therapeutic and very eye opening.

OK so why am I bringing this all up especially when I wont have any sort of easy answers. Well cause this last month or two have been a challenge for my self worth. I have had a few different occasions where I have had to question if I’m worth enough to do certain things that I want to do. It’s sad that this is always probably going to be my issue and something that I have to struggle with most likely forever.  I used to see a therapist and that helped me a lot come to terms with how fast something little can build into something huge in my worthlessness. He helped me to find joy in my flaws and accept my mistakes and help me see how others were foolish for not noticing. Today I have this side of me that knows those things and does live by some of those principles better then some of my peers might.  I go on some of these horrible dates where people say some of the worst things ever to me, and I’m totally unfazed cause I have more worth then they would ever imagine. I have some one tell me that I am fat and I couldn’t care less, cause I know I am healthy and in shape and beautiful. But get me in a room full of people and expect me to try to be smart or witty or confident and I have no clue what to do and just do nothing instead cause in my head I have no ability of being any those things.

Ok I’ll be honest and say that I have no idea how to end this post. So I’m going to do it with a quote from a book written by my favorite author, it’s a great book and a very memorable quote. I guess kind of sums up life when I start to wallow is my own worthlessness, and words I turn to when I need to remember that I am better then these feelings.  “You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else.”   With words like those how could you ever even think that you matter at all much less stress out when you don’t matter much.