We are having a serious issue, and I don’t know how much longer we can keep our cool. We consider ourselves to be reasonable people. Respectful women. Kind folks. When we are asked to do something (within reason) we comply. That’s just who we are.
For weeks (months really), we have been communicating with Mary’s case worker about the amount of gifts that Mary’s mom has been giving her. We have also spoken to the Parenting Counselor and Mary’s individual therapist as well, and all three have touched base with mom about the incessant gift giving. They have given her the reasons as to why this could be detrimental to her development. 1) She doesn’t learn to value and appreciate things 2) When we have a reward system in place, it is difficult to discipline her if she continues to receive weekly gifts from mom (every Tuesday) and twice biweekly (every other week she sees mom Tuesdays and Thursdays). And 3) Our apartment simply isn’t big enough to have 52 two foot dolls (one for each week of the year and those ridiculously scary looking Disney princess dolls). All of these conversations were simply not heeded and Mary has continuously received gift after stupid freaking gift.
Finally, we had it! With Christmas quickly approaching, we wanted to make sure that the holiday season with out family was a special one. We normally buy gifts for each other, wrap them and promptly put them under the tree. Not this year though. We are teaching Mary all about the true story of Christmas, as well as the story of Old St. Nick. We have wrapped her gifts and placed them in our closets and won’t be putting them under the tree until she is fast asleep Christmas Eve. We decided that since mom hasn’t been listening to the workers that maybe we would reach out to her via email. So Callie wrote her a very nice letter explaining to her all of the above reasons as to why she should refrain from purchasing gifts, with the added, “And it’s the holiday season, so to avoid duplicate gifts, as well as making Christmas extra special for her.” We also sent her the pictures that we took of Mary in her Christmas outfit in case her mom wanted to get cards made to send out to friends and relatives. This was approximately a week ago. Added to that email was a list of things that Mary doesn’t need (sneakers, short ankle socks, toys/dolls, pajamas, hats, gloves, winter jackets, t-shirts, house slippers) and things that she does need, since mom has felt so inclined to buy her things (longer winter socks, thermals, sweat suits, and winter boots). Not that we can’t purchase those things for her, but since mom is going to buy her things every week, we might as well give her some clues for the things that she’d be better off buying.
Yesterday, when Mary returned from her visit, she came home with a bag full of stuff. What was in the bag, you ask? Welllll, you guessed it! Everything on the “DO NOT BUY”. Ankle socks (It’s f*cking winter lady!), hats and gloves (last week she bought her 3 sets), house slippers (because the other 4 light up pair that she bought her obviously weren’t enough), another freaking princess pajama (because the 2 drawers full of pajamas that we have accumulated in the past 8 months certainly aren’t enough!), and a freaking Baby Alive doll that pees and poops, which we got Mary as a gift from Santa to help her in being a big sister. That was the gift that we were most excited about. That is the gift that we waited on freaking line for, refreshing the screen for hours on cyber monday in order to make her Christmas extra special because she wanted it so bad. Needless to say, we were freaking PISSED! Our case worker texted me on my way home from work to let me know that Mary’s mom had bought her a doll. We knew it would be more than that because otherwise she wouldn’t have texted us. We did not anticipate a bag full of crap, again, for the 4th time this month! I let the case worker have it! When are they going to step in and tell her mom that it’s inappropriate and disrespectful to not respect the wishes of the foster family. Does she not know that we hold all of the cards in our hands right now? We can cancel visits when we feel like it. We can cease all phone calls (we let Mary call mom whenever mom cancels a visit for something ridiculous like rain!). We don’t ever have to send her another picture of Mary in a school play, or catching her first fish, or bouncing at a bouncy castle, or showing her face of wonder when capturing her first firefly ever. We have been nothing but kind to this woman, and nothing but understanding of her situation. We speak highly of her to her daughter and encourage Mary to share her stories about her mother with us. We have Mary write her cards and I put DVD’ together of Mary at her school functions. We are the ideal foster parents and get blatantly disrespected like this!?!?! How is it that we can comply and work with her and all of the multitude of requests, but our simple one is not even considered? I can assure you, from this point on, we will be changing. We will not be so accommodating. It’s unfortunate, because Mary is ultimately the one who will suffer, but how do we make it clear that this behavior from mom is unacceptable? How do we get her to understand, that her selfish behavior (the need to assert herself as “mom”) is not in her daughters best interest? How do we explain to her that this is a partnership and that we should all be working together to do what is best for Mary?
On Tuesday, despite Mary’s tears and tantrums, we will be sending all of the stuff back (with the exception of the doll, which she loves, and makes us sad because we wanted to give it her) to her mother with a note indicating why it was all being sent back. We will speak to the case worker and the therapist, and unless there is a valid reason as to why we will be receiving any more gifts, they are not to send Mary home with any more uselses crap unless it is pre-approved by us. Is it a bit extreme? Perhaps. But we have rules in our home, and we expect them to be followed. If Mary’s mom wants to have things handed to her by her sugar daddies and her stripper friends, so be it, but we will not be the parents that hand things to our children so that they expect everything to be handed to them in life. They will work hard and earn them. They will do chores for allowance, and learn the value of a dollar. They will take pride in their achievements. Those are the children that we will raise. This situation has gotten out of hand!