My nephew had his first meltdown less than 10 minutes after we picked him up. That pretty much set the tone for the type of day it was going to be. I am able to look on the bright side: although frequent, none of his fits lasted longer than 10 minutes. Some were even less than 5 minutes.
Though not yet diagnosed, I have no doubt that Mikie is on the autism spectrum. He is somewhat high-functioning, but can be challenging. I have had a couple of people tell me that they wouldn't continue babysitting him given the lack of proper pay & how crazy he can be. I wish I could explain to them what it feels like to have a mother's love for a child who isn't yours. Just as I wouldn't give up on Trin, I won't give up on my nephew. Having the insight into his particular needs, it would also be despicable to expect his mom to just deal w/ it all on her own. Especially considering her not-so-distant drug addictions and her lack of solid role models, not helping her would be like handing her her drug of choice & guaranteeing Mikie an even tougher life. I couldn't do that. I wouldn't do that.
In addition to being closer to Mikie, these last few months have given me an opportunity to get to know his mom better. Mikie's dad is my brother, who I no longer talk to b/c he's a raging drug addict w/ no sense at all, but I never really got to know Mikie's mom very well. We chatted briefly when we had to, but it wasn't until we fostered Mikie that I got some insight into her background. She comes from a long line of drug addicts & alcoholics. She's one of 3 children, all of whom were in recovery at the time she went in. (She seems to be the only one who is really sticking w/ it.) Both her parents are/were alcoholics and/or drug addicts. The fact that she has come as far as she has is a testament to her dedication. I am learning to accept that her & I may not be very similar in our parenting, but just b/c she doesn't do things the way I would, doesn't necessarily mean she's doing something wrong. We all behave & react in different ways. I don't always get it right, either. So it's silly to expect anyone else to get it right all the time.
There have been 2 specific moments where my nephew's mom says something to me that gives me even more resolve to stick with it & continue being Mikie's caregiver. One time she told me that my brother wanted to get back together w/ her. She was telling me about their conversation and though she didn't say it, my brother must have mentioned wanting me to stop watching little Mikie b/c she told him that the number 1 rule would be that I will never be cut out of Mikie's life. She said something to the effect that I am the only person she really trusts will do anything for him and that I am the only person who has never let her down. She also gave me the impression that she knows I'm the one who called DHS on them last year b/c she also said that I changed their lives & he needs to accept that it was the right thing to do. The second moment was when we were talking about Mikie calling me mom & how no matter how much I corrected him, he kept doing it. She told me that it didn't bother her b/c it just means he's familiar w/ me & has bonded to me. She also told me that if anything ever happened to her, there's no question she would want Mikie to be with me b/c I'm the only person she knows who loves him as much as she does. And she's right. That's my boy. I couldn't give up on him, ever.