Saturday, July 24, 2010

What if You Don't Like the Kid?

People get into fostering because they honestly love kids and enjoy having them around.  They want to help them.  Foster parents who get into it for another reason (money, a sense of "civic responsibility", or whatever) invariably flame out inside of a year or two.  You have to love the kids, period.  Nothing else will do.

However, we are human, and humans run into other humans that they simply don't like.  Other times, you can like another human, but then that human does something that causes you to not like them anymore.  This can even happen when there are good reasons for the thing that person did to make you change your mind.  It can be a disease (alcoholism, autism, retardation, tourette's, or what have you) that you fully understand and that the person has little or no control over...but still you just can't work around it for whatever reason.

We have experienced this a couple of times since we started fostering, and it is brought to my mind by the "potty issues" we're having with "Marcus".  These issues are something he can't help and we're working with him on them, but they are causing us to honestly not like him, and in some cases dread even dealing with him.  After all, how many times can you slap a kid's hand away from digging between his legs while he's on the toilet before you start to get squeamish about taking his hand, hugging him, and being intimate in a parent-child kind of situation?  The sanitary aspect of it alone is enough to make you want to avoid having him spend time with your own child.

You can start out with the best of intentions and have a fair bit of experience and still begin to resent having to clean up human feces time and time again...not only from his pants and clothes which is pretty natural, but from the bedclothes, bed, floor, dresser, window, walls, and everywhere else he can reach.  Not to mention his face, hair, ears, nose, mouth and every other part of his own body.  Something inside me is beginning to revolt at the idea of keeping on with this if we don't see some sort of improvement soon.  We may have reached the outer limit of our expertise.

I'd be interested in hearing from anybody who has had to deal with this kind of problem on a protracted basis.  We've had kids spread feces (and even in one case blood) on the bathroom wall and of course we've had kids mess in their pants, but I've never, EVER, in my life as a foster parent or my earlier 11-year stint as a full-time foster brother, had to deal with an issue of this kind quite so severe.  And The Wife and I are starting to get tapped out for ideas.  I'd love to just zip the kid into a ziplock when we put him to bed, but something tells me The Powers That Be would frown on such a course of action.

Comments welcome.


At 11:29 AM , Blogger r. said...

There is some sort of bodysuit that has its zippers/snaps on the back, that they make to keep kids from taking off their clothes. Someone mentioned it in a comment on parent's blog. They almost got into trouble with the social workers, though, because it could be considered a restraint. I'll try to find a link.

At 11:33 AM , Blogger r. said...

Somebody mentioned the bodysuits in a comment on this post. The issue with their daughter's "vest" (which come to think about it, appears to be from a different company and may be something different altogether??) was posted here.
If you read more of the blog, though, be aware that usually when they're talking about a "vest" they're referring to something else entirely, which is a medical device that helps clear out their daughter's lungs. (Their daughter has CF.)

At 7:09 PM , Blogger Dan said...

Yeah, being a CF sufferer myself I'm aware of the vest. My sister, also a CF patient, has had to use one for years. I've been lucky enough to avoid it.

I have also heard of suits and things that might work in our case. We're planning on seeing what's available. In the case of "Marcus", there are also some sensory issues they are working on, and part of that is a body sock we got for him that is a kind of spandex (or something) thing that he gets into and just feels it from the inside. It's apparently supposed to calm him...we're still evaluating it but he does seem to like it.


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