Friday, September 12, 2008
Why I made the previous post: family responsibilities
There are two things that have occurred during the past week that have thrown me for a loop. At the time of posting my last blog entry, I was looping out quickly and deeply, in the turgid waters of a washing machine cycle gone out of control. I was overwhelmed with "life" and was ready to quit. The world had, again, conspired against me, but I had no-one to blame or be angry at. And boy was I angry.
The first problem is to do with family responsibilities, which I take very seriously. When we underwent IVF back in February, my cousin's eldest daughter was in crisis. At 16, she made the momentous decision to leave home, as she hated her mother and could no longer live with her. I took this girl in for 10 days, just to give her some space from her mother, with the hope she would see the light and return home. I was cycling, going bingo with hormones, having hope raised, and dashed and raised again - you all know what IVF meds do to a girl. After ten days, living with my niece became all too much. We only have a two-bedroom house, and are just not set up for a teenager, who needs her own room and space and direction and ... everything a teenage girl needs. I took her back to her mother after ten days and she immediately ran away - this time to a family "friend". This particular "friend" turned out to be an interfering, nasty piece of work who basically told my cousin "You can f##king kiss your daughter goodbye". Much pain and angst ensued, and we have not seen the girl since February.
Again, we cycle in July and I am looking after my cousin's three little ones, aged 7, 9 and 10. I adore these children. But with my step-son here every weekend, our two-bedroom house, which also houses my business - office equipment, computers, cupboards full of stock - we can barely accommodate my step-son, much less another three children. One of the children became ill with flu and, mid-cycle, I contracted all the germy diseases he passed on to me and I became extremely ill. So did Bob, so did the mother, and grandma. That was one nasty-arsed bug invading our bodies.
Come September, just as our surrogacy plan all seemed in place, and I was unstressed and doing well, I get a distress call from my cousin. I won't go into details, but she was very ill, a danger to herself, and required immediate hospitalisation. She had finally had a complete and total nervous breakdown. Again, I am there. I have to be. She is single, her mum is looking after her own mother (my dad's sister) full time and working full time. The children's father works away for seven days and shares custody of the children with their mother every alternate seven days. He is a good man, a good father and very loving, but pretty clueless about deeper issues to do with mental health.
A friend of my cousin takes the children in, and I relieve her when she works. It's all going well. the children are happy, calm (unusual for them) and doing well. The plan is that the friend and I will care for the children until mum is out of hospital.
Then this past week dad returns from work, takes the children from the friend, and me, and makes the oh-so-fabulous decision to house them with their older sister, with the woman who has caused so much trouble, in a four bedroom house already bursting at the seams with six children. Including the three little ones, that makes NINE - yes NINE - children under the one roof. Why did he do this? He wants to keep all the children together. Now, the eldest girl fled the coop six months ago. I suspect he wants the little ones with her so that she can care for them. Why my cousin's friend and I are deemed not "appropriate" to care for the children on their mother's week is beyond us. We suspect it has a lot to do with that horrible person who is now parading herself as the mother-of-all-mothers, caring for nine children!
So, I am the one who has to tell my cousin that the children's father has taken the little ones and housed them with the woman she most despises in the whole entire world. I expect her to flip her lid. And she does. Fortunately, I have already alerted her primary nurse about the what has transpired and warned her my cousin would go ballistic. They medicate my cousin and the next time I speak with her she is calm, but dopey (the meds) and tells me it's okay for the father to make the decision on her behalf. She just needs to get well. I support her with that because she is the only one who can pull the children out of that rabble of a house.
I don't think the father's intention is to take the children from their mother full time, but if it comes to that, we will go to court and fight him ... and who will fund that? DH and I. Again.
So, all is quiet in this regard for now. But two days ago I felt the burden of having a very ill cousin, children to care for, emotions to settle, distress calls from my cousin's mother who is dealing with her elderly mother, who is crying about losing her great-grandchildren. I thought, hey, I have to be here for these children and for my family. If I had a larger house (extension plans are underway) I would take the children full time when their mother was ill. And she will be ill again, because psychiatric conditions tend to be a life-long sentence, even with the best medication and medical care.
Ultimately, every time I try to have my own children, something crops up with my cousin and I am the only one with the time and resources to put out her fires. I was thinking, perhaps this is my lot in life. Perhaps my role in life is to support the children currently in my life, who already need my assistance, not run overseas and spend buckets of money on US surrogacy to create more children. Is God conspiring against me and forcing me to accept what I have, rather than what I do not have?
At the end of the day, the reason why I do not become a foster carer is because ultimately other people get the final say in what happens to the children. I just care for them and then have to let them go. In this case, the father, aided and abetted by an ill mother and a wicked nasty woman who thinks she is super mum make all the decisions. If I fostered I would have social services constantly invading my life, and delivering and taking away children, that I would bond with and then lose. I don't need to "own" or completely control the children in my care, but I would like a little more for myself.
Onto my next post.
Posted by Phoenix at 5:00 AM