Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sunny Update

It’s been a month, y’all! Time is getting away from me these days!!

I’ve been really exhausted, trying to handle ‘all the things…’

Life has been very complicated lately. Things with Sunny truly aren’t going well overall, and I feel terrible even writing that – but it is very, very true. Sunny cannot help her circumstances, and cannot help the terrible situations that led to her placement in foster care.  She can't help the difficult turns her case is taking. She is too little to really understand and to fully process the immense grief and confusion that she is experiencing. After her last court date, I learned about some of the things she'd experienced...and my heart definitely breaks for her.
Sunny has begun acting out a LOT because of the intense emotions she seems to be experiencing.  She has now assaulted Eli twice...and both times were unprovoked.   One of the incidents began with an unexpected screaming fit that startled Eli. He'd turned to walk away from her, but she still managed to leave a handprint-shaped bruise across Eli's back. A week later, she assaulted him again, this time hitting him in the face. After a recent (nearly 3 hour) observation of Sunny in our home, it was recommended that she no longer share a room with Itty Bitty (for his safety), and that we keep the kids separated as much as possible and very strictly supervised. In addition to acting very aggressively toward Eli, she has been alternating between acting very withdrawn/shut down and very angrily toward both Patrick and I. We are in a near-constant cycle of  Sunny's meltdowns, temper tantrums, yelling and periods of absolute silence with a refusal to speak, eat or comply with directions.  She has taken to standing in one place and staring at everyone for very, very long periods of time with a refusal to engage with any of us. Between all of this, Sunny does have quiet, sweet, playful times, though.  In my heart, I really don't think that she's a "bad" kid...but she is definitely a seriously traumatized one.
I don't know what's going to happen now. If her case were to go to adoptions (it might not, but you never know...), I don't think Patrick and I would be able to agree to adopt her. We love her...but love is not enough to help her heal these huge emotional and mental wounds. And I definitely believe that, with God's help and in the right situation and with enough time, she can and will heal...but in our family, with balancing the already-complex needs of Eli and Itty Bitty, she is not getting enough help. Trust me when I say, I've been heartbroken over this new turn of events, and have truly struggled to come to terms with the fact that I am not prepared to parent Sunny long term.

As far as how long she'll be with us, we don't know. We don't want to request disruption at this point, because she needs as much stability and as little change as possible.  The distinct possibility exists that she may well return to her family; in this case, it would make sense to keep working with her. But on the other hand, if her case leans toward adoption, we would support moving her to another foster-adopt family. We are grateful that we will be receiving respite care for her next week, so that we will have a break from parenting her for a few days. Hopefully, this will be enough relaxed bonding time with the boys to have a sense of renewed purpose and energy in working with Sunny when she comes back.

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