Today is 2 weeks into our first placement. There are a LOT of things I have learned already. Expectations versus reality.
I expected to fall madly in love with this child right away. While I did care for this child, I didn't have that unconditional love, I still don't. I do care for him and feel like I can say I love him now, but it just hasn't been as quick or as strong as I thought.
I expected to be able to handle any bad behaviors or problems with little difficulty. I thought we'd be able to handle anything we got thrown that we had check-marked on our ok list. (The agency had us choose "will accept", "might accept", or "will not accept" for all kinds of different issues, like aggression, suicidal thoughts/behaviors, sexual abuse, different medical issues, etc.) We both have a lot of experience with children of all ages and some experience with intellectual disabilities and bad behavior problems like aggression. I didn't expect to struggle so much with what the right way is of handling certain behaviors and circumstances. I realized I'm not all that and a bag of chips. I don't know it all, I need help and it's ok to say I don't know it all and I need help. It's been a very humbling experience.
I expected to have lots of bonding moments and fun times, baking together, crafts, summertime festivals, etc. I guess I was thinking about the relationship we have with our nieces. We have those fun times together, but what I wasn't really considering is that I don't see the tantrums, boredom, exhaustion, etc that mom and dad deal with. We play with them and send them home. This little one is here 24/7 through good times and bad. The first week we were mostly focused on survival. The second week has gotten much better and we're actually able to try some of those fun bonding times.