Thursday, October 11, 2007

Isn't it hard?

That would be the most oft asked question of foster parents. The answer, surprising: Yes. But I have a follow up question. What worthwhile isn't hard? Being a parent is hard. Being married is hard. Going home for Christmas is hard. Getting a degree is hard. Jobs are hard. Sometimes just getting up in the morning is hard.

There are two schools of judgement on us. Either people think that we are saints, specially equipped to tackle the job of fostering, given a gift that they did not receive. Or they think foster parents are just in it for the money.

The kids who have come and gone were not meant for us. Some of the kids went back home, some went to grandparents. Some went back into the system. I can only tell you what has happened to one of the kids who has come and gone. The others I've had to trust that they are in God's hands and we did the job as well as we were able. The kid that I know what has happened to is much better where he is now, than he would have been had he stayed with us. There are some children who cannot be integrated into a typical family situation. This is not my fault, I was not sad to see him go, and I am very thankful that God has made many different types of foster families to deal with many different types of children.

Our first official placement was three teens. One who had a milestone birthday in foster care. This was their first removal from their home. In the two weeks they were with us the cops were here three or four times. Half the time one of them was missing. The CPS worker couldn't believe that we stuck it out for two weeks, was it hard: yes. Was it worth it to see a fifteen year old boy run across a parking lot crying because he was so happy to see his mom, and getting to go home. Yes.

We also had children who have been in dozens of homes. After so much time not belonging, they could not be comfortable belonging. They could not wrap their heads around someone being there for them FOREVER. While they were here we did our best to keep them safe and happy. We tried to teach them what we could and prayed for the rest. Was it hard, OH MY YES. We miss them terribly, but know that we could not have kept them here any longer.

Do I worry everyday that someone is coming for the kids that are here now? No. Does it cross my mind? Yes. Most people comment to us that they "could not do it" I want to tell them they could, I don't. While some people may have physical constraints to prevent them from doing it, like not having enough space in their homes. Most people have room in their hearts to do this. I am not immune to the hurts that come along with this, but I have received blessings that I cannot explain.

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