adoption, family

Getting Antsy

If there is one thing the foster care system has taught my children it would be leaving. An internal alarm will alert them not to feel safe with permanency. Unfortunately, the very nature of foster care perpetuates this. Are you comfortable here? Do you love these people?  Are you happy in this school? It’s time to go. It’s time for another placement.

Ostensibly, it’s affected Marcus the most. He’s been through the greatest number of placements. Even an amazing foster home like the one Sean and Mary had is still not their birth home. They’ve all been moved. After awhile kids can get rather used to this. It’s taken years to assure them we are a forever family. Carl gets it. Mary still sometimes asks if she needs to go to another family.

As far as Marcus is concerned everything and everyone has an expiration date. His relationships never last past 8 months. Neither do his homes. Even as an adult, he is constantly moving around, constantly seeking something better. At around the 6-month mark for anything he gets antsy. Marcus will start small arguments or come up with little reasons as to why things aren’t working. He’s building up to his “time to go” alarm.

At the 8-month mark he’s either already gone or he’s heading out the door. Marcus has always been a fan of the “ripping off the band-aid” school of thinking. When he feels the need to leave he will take extreme measures to make it happen. He’ll cause fights, take risks, and generally try to burn it all down. I’ve heard of people burning their bridges before but Marcus will set fire to his own life raft.

Having been on the receiving end of this several times, I am very familiar with the signs. When he’s doing well in a job/school/relationship he can only tolerate it for so long. Then Marcus chafes against some imagined confinement. He’ll eventually chew off his own leg to escape.

This weekend he came home early from Job Corps. He took Friday off because he “couldn’t take it.” Apparently he’d been written up for smoking in a non-designated area and giving staff a hard time. He had started or almost-started fights with a few kids. He was behind in some of his electrical work.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad Marcus chose to come home. This is much better than, say, starting a physical fight with a staff member. I am an advocate of walking away when you need to. I just really, really want him to walk back.

I see the signs. He is beginning to exhibit some reckless behaviors that could eventually get him terminated from the program. He smuggled alcohol onto campus by duct taping nips bottles to his waist. Then he lifted up his shirt so security could wave the metal detector over his belt like he had nothing to hide. Somehow he didn’t get caught. At least, he hasn’t been caught yet.

He has been at Job Corps for 5 months. He hasn’t completed his apprenticeship yet. He wants to leave next month. Marcus claims he absolutely cannot be there during the summer. He wants to get a job. He’s found a new car to buy. It would seem we are back to square one with car vs. real life!

Obviously, we have tried to persuade him to continue investing in his future. This opportunity dries up the moment he walks away. Marcus is getting too old for these programs to take him. He’s an adult and these are adult choices. I hope he makes the right one.

My mother says, “You can save people from a lot of things but you can’t save them from themselves.”

Her words ring true. There isn’t anything I can do here. Still, the whole thing makes me antsy.

**Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.


19 thoughts on “Getting Antsy

  1. Ah, yes, I have this. Not completely sorted it. But getting there. On the plus side I have done a lot of interesting things and have friends scattered all over. I learned to store my clothes in portable plastic boxes: when its time to move again, I don’t have to pack and unpack and it allows me to have more than one or two suitcases of stuff. I hoard bubble wrap and boxes for my fragile things. Some of which travel from home to home still wrapped up. The hardest part was busting through the barrier to have a decent relationship. Wishing Marcus calm and honest thinking.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. It hurts me for him 😦 especially coz’ I relate to a lot of that. It’s way safer to end something yourself than it ending on you. And being that everything will end if you cause it to end at least you’ve yourself to blame so you can think maybe it could’ve been different and can be upset with yourself.
    I’m glad he has you…. I can’t imagine the pain it causes to watch it….
    Love, light and glitter

    Liked by 3 people

  3. skinnyhobbit says:

    It hurts less than being left. I never take friends for granted because they could always leave… I have been left many times. My deepest relationships are only in the past 5 years (therapist, chosen sibling) and I’m still amazed they haven’t got sick of me and left yet…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. C says:

    Something else to consider is the value we ascribe to things. That was and still is an issue for me. I place too much value on the wrong things or not enough on the good things. Well the things that you would say are good/bad but to me it make perfect sense. Then the risk/reward evaluation gets all messed up. Pair that with not being able to think about the future it’s a mess. It make sticking with thing difficult cuz everything looses value. I think this misplacement of value comes from my emotional age being much lower than my chronological age.

    Liked by 2 people

      • bunnyhabit says:

        it’s tough getting over being dumped by parents. I have been in therapy for ten years now. still if a guy gets too codependent I roam to someone strange and casual.I make it clear to each lover I will bolt if he gets serious. constant cycle of loving and leaving. even with therapist I haven’t clinged to one more than a year.

        Liked by 1 person

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