Have you ever had a bad dream and then been plagued by the emotions of that dream even after you wake up? I have - more often than I care to think about. Last night at our fourth MAPP class we had a guided imagery activity. I started to feel bad as soon as our leader announced her plan, I've done these before and it never ends well. So the just of it is she had us close our eyes and imagine ourselves in our homes in a place we are happy with people, pets and things that are special to us. A real happy place. Then she comes to the door and tells me to quickly gather a few things to take with me because she's taking me to a new family that needs a mom. They've been waiting for me for a long time. WHAT THE!!!!????? No thanks! I immediately got angry - very angry. I'm happy and safe where I am thank you very much. So she continued with me being taken to a house that was nicer than mine and the people who lived there all met me at the door smiling and happy to see me. Then I stayed there for a year before I was allowed to return to my family!!!! For children in the foster care system this scenario plays out in reality sometimes dozens of times - in multiple foster homes and sometimes returning to their own home. Why would they think coming to this "forever family" will be any different than any other place they have lived?
So usually Mike and I have really good discussions on the drive home from class, after all it is an hour drive and the class always has discussion worthy topics. Not so last night - I was still mad. How could he let them take me away? :-( I know the idea was to try to relate how children feel when they are removed from their homes. I know children love their homes and their families no matter how unsafe they may be. I understand how terrifying it must be to have to trust this stranger coming to your door and then they take you to a house with more strangers and they leave you there. You don't know what the rest of your family are doing, you don't know if or when you will see them again. I'm an adult with full understanding of the imaginary scenario presented and I was still upset when we got home last night, complete with a headache I needed to take Advil for before bed. So many times I was that smiling face at the door of the new house when we had children placed in our home. I really tried to comfort the children and ease their transition but this little exercise made me think my smiling face was just as welcoming as if Freddy Krueger the door. I could care less who was at the new house I just wanted to go home.
These classes are tough but we cannot deny they are providing us with skills to deal with the emotions and issues that may have affected our son-to-be.
On a positive note next week we will be given information on getting our finger printing appointments. That will feel like we are making progress in the right direction.