Ugh. I don't even know where to begin. My fiance and I decided to foster an 11 yr old child (with the long term goal to adopt) that she a worked with at her place of employment, which is essentially a step-down group home. The child was sweet, and loyal, smart and funny at the facility...but also housed with 12 other kids ranging from 10-18. She had been taken away from her previous foster family who still has her siblings due to least that is what we were told. She had become really attached to my fiance and since she had no place to go at the end of her program, so we decided to take the steps and bring her into our family.
The week before she was to come here she (for the first time in her history at the facility) stole a laptop, flooded a bathroom,, and broke a window. Soooo she had to stay for an extra 2 weeks, self imposed program disruption. We chalked it up to anxiety and fear of being moved. That is how it appeared after the event based on M's explanation. (I'll refer to the child as M from here on out) So the next two weeks went by and were uneventful.
The day comes and she arrives at our house. She does all the things a kid should do with no issue. Until bedtime. We tell her it is time for bed, so shower, get your teeth brushed and head to bed. She takes a bath instead, which okay, no problem. The kid probably hasn't had a quiet bath to herself in God knows how long. So she comes out of the bathroom an hour later (30 minutes past bedtime) and goes to bed. Then we catch her sneaking out of her room to get a snack. When we ask what she is doing in the pantry she says "she's cold" (it is 70 in our house like...all the time) and I told her she has a mountain of fluffy blankets and that putting on socks helps me if I am chilly in bed. Redirecting her. Next day same thing. She takes a bath even though we said shower, and lies about brushing her teeth. We confront her light heartedly and ask her to actually brush her teeth. So she does, begrudgingly. Again, goes to bed late and tries to sneak out again for a snack. Now, just to tell you, she got a huge breakfast, a snack, lunch, another snack, dinner, and a bedtime snack. I know she is growing but...yeah, this is excessive. Okay. Maybe it's about something she wants control over. We give her options, try to get her to make good food choices, give her things that will fill her no avail. This behavior has only gotten worse. We don't use food as a punishment or reward. She has tried to sneak the food bags they hand out at school into her room. These have crackers, applesauce, ravioli, cereal bars etc... just ugh.
On to the continuation of hygiene. She flat out refuses to shower. Or brush her teeth. She has bedwetting problems and I can't tell you how many times she has just flat out not told us she wet the bed only to go into her room later and find out the opposite. It's alot to have to clean up every other day. She is on meds for it, we have done med checkups, we limit liquids 1.5 hours before bedtime. She legit doesn't care. So many times my fiance has sat down on a wet toilet seat in the morning because M has wet the bed and doesn't wash herself off. We aren't going to get mad if it happens, we get upset because she lies.
The lies. It started on day one with some fantastical story telling, which okay, I get it. This happens, she is trying to find common ground. Then it got worse. She would and does lie about anything. She lies to her teacher, her classmates, her therapist, us, anyone who will listen. We offer rewards for telling the truth. We punish the lie and not the action (unless the action was negative in intent). We have to constantly dig and cipher out the truth. She would tell you the sky was green and stand by her assertion. It is so mentally draining. She had an entire therapy session about telling the truth...and 6 hours later she is lying about stuff we know isn't true but can't prove. She uses her trauma as a scapegoat and I know that sounds horrible, and awful, but in this case it is true. She doesn't do any of the work she needs to do to try and take control over her behaviors. Despite my fiance having training, despite numerous therapists, awesome activity books, rewards, punishments, remaining calm, setting appropriate boundaries and providing a non-judgemental environment...she still lies.
When you do confront her with anything she goes off the rails. We don't yell in this house. Period. One night she was refusing to shower. So instead, she cut off all her hair. We didn't react, we said well...that was a poor choice...but you still have to shower. So the fiance called the incident line for foster care and told them what happened because we can't trust that she wouldn't say it was us that did it. And if a report like that comes fiance could lose her job. She tried to steal an umbrella AT CHURCH!!!!!!!! AND THEN TRIED TO DENY IT EVEN THOUGH THE HANDLE WAS STICKING OUT OF HER DRESS!!!!!
She has been displaying strange behaviors towards our cats (like tearing the wings off of flies and trying to feed them to our cats), broke her bed because I had an online meeting and couldn't be in the same room as her. I have had to cut my work schedule from 10 hrs a day to 3 because we can't trust her enough to not be within eye shot. We bought her $500 worth of clothes, socks, underwear, shoes and haven't gotten reimbursed, and we are not wealthy. That wasn't enough. She asks for everything and anything under the sun and if we don't or can't do it right then she throws a holy fit. Which then causes some outburst and we are legit afraid of her next escalation. She always has to barter or be contrary even if we say we can't afford to do that today but when we can, we will. She doesn't get it. We have explained, calmly, shown her how money works. Nope. Doesn't care.
I have had numerous panic attacks, breakdowns, insomnia. My fiance can't catch a break because now it is like home is just an extension of work. We are burnt out.
We called for a disruption because this is not what we signed up for. It is taking a toll, I have lost like 20 lbs because I can't eat due to anxiety, depression and insomnia. My fiance sleeps constantly because she is just exhausted. The removal is set for tomorrow but we have absolutely no details because her worker is THE WORST.
We haven't told her yet. And yes, I know, I KNOW we should...but honestly no one would sleep. We are both way too scared that she is going to destroy everything, run away, hurt herself, one of our cats, or quite possibly us. So this is the part I need help with because honestly we aren't planning on telling her until the SW is like 30 min away.
This is NOT what we envisioned and we could have rolled with some of these behaviors but this is far too much. Clearly she was able to fly under the radar at the facility and before due to being 1 of 5 siblings but now that she is one her own, her behaviors are on full display. She used to just act up for me trying to pit me against my fiance, but we communicate like champs soooo nice try. I also don't think she has processed her detachment from her siblings and once she realizes she isn't going back to them...yikes.
I feel so bad, but there is a difference between behavior and character...neither of which are good in this case. We are completely checked out at this point and that isn't fair to her or us. We can't go emotionally, mentally and financially bankrupt over this. She needs way more help and attention that we can as humans. I hope she finds that perfect place, but that place isn't here.