My husband and I just finished our first weekend of foster training. The first day we learned about ways to discipline a foster child and how trauma can impact kids. The next day we learned about sexual abuse and Indiana Department of Child Services. These classes not only taught me new information but it also brought up my childhood experiences.
It’s been 14 years since I told a judge I no longer wanted to see my father. Each day has helped me recover from what my mom, sister and I went through. But this weekend I relived A LOT. There were even some stuff I never told my husband until this weekend. I must say it was weird watching videos and hearing stories about kids that closely related to my experiences. I didn’t have as much trauma as some of these kids. But I still remember calling the cops on my dad, going in hiding for a few days and having my dad’s family lie on the witness stand about what kind of parent my father was. Yes, my heart is a little heavy after being reminded of all these past experiences. But do you want to know what I got most out of these classes? Hope.
I can’t compare my trauma to the kids I will soon be fostering. I know many of them have experienced more pain than I can imagine. They’ve had everything ripped from their lives in an instant. (I thankfully had my mom and sister with me the whole time). But my hope is to some how teach these kids to overcome their trauma.
I would say that I’m not a perfect person but I think I turned out better than what I could have been. That’s because I had a loving family, friends, church family and God to help me through each day. As the years go by, the stronger I feel. The farther away the trauma is. Except when my past is brought back up.
After two days of listening to stories about kids in the foster system, I had an anxiety attack. It came out of nowhere. My husband and I were on the couch watching a show when I started to freak out. I was on overload with my memories. It took me a good hour to calm down. I haven’t had a panic attack like that in a while. Thankfully, my husband was there for me. Even though that was a rough moment…I learned something.
Trauma is still a part of our lives. It is still a part of my life. As I learned in training, triggers can happen any moment. A simple thing can spark a trigger leading a person into panic and chaos. Like me, these kids will face their trauma the rest of their lives. But they don’t have to let it control them.
It took me years to get over some things from my past but I rarely think about it. It’s as if I lived another life. I remember the hurt and pain but I also remember the daily fight to get where I am today. After my attack, I started thinking I may not make a good foster parent. Especially since I just had an anxiety attack. But instead of using that moment as a negative I am using it as a positive. It’s a current reminder that the kids that will come into our home will need the support when they too have an anxiety attack or a trigger.
I hope I’m able to help these kids work through their trauma. To help them know overcoming their past is the easy part. It’s staying in a positive mindset that’s hard. But it can be done. That’s where my faith comes in. My relationship with God has helped me through a lot. Not only to control my trauma but to forgive those who caused horrible experiences in my life.
To be honest I’m not really sure why I am writing this post. Maybe someone needs to read this. Someone who feels guilty for falling back into their past. Maybe a soon-to-be foster parent needs to read that their love can make a big difference. But they may need to help the kids through triggers. Whoever this is for I pray it helps you.