I am asked why I have adopted so many children.
I am told that I can't possibly adopt all the kids in foster care.
I guess it is obvious that those people are correct...but I can make a difference to each one that I do adopt.
Warning: do NOT drink anything while reading this. I am not responsible for damaged computer screens from spewed liquids.
Many children from foster care come with traumatic and tragic stories. These stories are not a result of a "bad" child but rather a result of the environment they were living in. This environment forces children to learn less than desirable behaviors in order to survive. Such behaviors can include lying, stealing, manipulating, failing grades, sexually acting out, screaming tantrums and more. This list can go on and on, but today, I want to focus on one that all to often is not one that foster parents can put up with. Feces smearing.
Feces smearing can result from a number of issues. Early childhood neglect, sexual abuse, overly traumatic potty training. My plan with this blog as has always been to educate, provide resources and share my life so that others can see that they are not alone. So in that spirit, here are some web-sites that have great information on fecal smearing.
OK so that was the educational/resource part of the blog today. Now for the "you aren't alone part..." (insert BIG sigh here) K10 got me. This was my first experience with honest to goodness, textbook case poop smearing. ...Yuck.
To be clear, we were informed from the case file that smearing had been reported by previous foster care providers. I was hyper alert when the kids first moved in, but truly did NOT see anything to be concerned about. Perhaps some poor hygiene issues and an inability to properly wash hands. But that is normal childhood issues and not something I would ever consider as behavior smearing.
K10 would not settle down for a nap yesterday. Maybe I should have listened better. Hindsight being 20/20, I am certain she was not falling asleep because she needed to poop. Lesson learned. Anyway, I kept trying to get her to settle down in her bed and after 2 hours, gave up and put her in the playpen. That was my second mistake. If I had just let her get up and play, I suspect she would have toileted herself. No, I contained her in a playpen so she didn't have a choice but to poop in her diaper. Since she was contained in the playpen, I didn't check on her for about 20 min. She was quiet...I figured she was sleeping. That was my third and final mistake. Never avoid checking on a quiet baby thinking you might wake them!!!!
SO...I walked in to check on said quiet baby to find a completely naked child, diaper thrown to the other side of the room, poop all over the bedding, poop pictures on my wall, a stuffed bear AND bunny covered in poop, and a poop ball (yes, she had squeezed it into a ball shape) carefully placed on the dresser. There is not enough clorox in the world...
Yes. My heart stopped. I screamed OMG in my head over and over. I think K10 recognized that this was a bad situation because she looked up at me with big brown eyes, stuck out her poopy hands and said "Neber do it again mommy! Neber do it again."
That moment may have saved her life. Eventually, baby was clean, room was clean and in the end it was just poop. Her precious little heart and feelings were way more important to me.
So. That is my report. I may never feel clean again. Oh...and I put myself in time out for not paying better attention. K10 was rewarded with an extra long bath. My life is oh so glamorous.