*SPOILER ALERT* This post contains many details of the episode “The Big, Amazing, Beautiful life” from the show This is Us.
I have been watching This Is Us since the beginning. I don’t like many shows these days but I would say it’s probably my all-time favorite. I think I love the show so much because it’s about real life. The exact opposite of what reality TV presents on most channels.
This week’s episode had me thinking about the foster system, the kids in it and all those included. As you may know, my husband and I are in the process of becoming foster parents. Even though I haven’t had any child in my home yet..this episode reminded me to keep an open mind. Here are 4 things I learned from this week’s episode.
- Not all parents are bad. This episode really showed the story from Deja’s perspective. I can agree that her mother was selfish in her actions…she tried hard to give her daughter the best life. The episode revealed that Shauna was 16 when she had Deja. An age where girls are already struggling with life change. Not to mention now she is a new mom. It also shows that Shauna had her grandmother in her life. A great woman who worked hard and spoke truth into her when she needed it. But quickly that relationship ended when her grandmother passed away. Instantly, Deja was the one who began to take care of her own mother. Despite Shauna’s flaws she really did try to get back on her feet.
You may remember in episodes before — Shauna seemed like an awful mom. I’ll admit…I judged her. Randall even judged her. But he…like many of us (yes, including foster parents) didn’t know the full story. I know, I haven’t been through this process yet. I soon will understand the heartache that comes with the job. HOWEVER, Foster parents it is not our place to judge. Before assuming that parent is awful — try to get to know them and find out what the real story is. I know there are many parents who have done more than we can imagine — but there are those that are just lost. Think of it like this. Many of those parents would have been your foster kids 20 years ago.
2. Not all Foster Parents are good. One of Deja’s first placements was with a foster dad who abused the children in his care. Honestly, I don’t know how people like that get through the system. But it’s true that not all foster parents are doing it for the right reasons. These kids have already been through enough. So to think of them going to a home where they are no more safe than they were with their parents…makes me mad. Deja’s fellow foster sister talked about how he wasn’t as bad. To think a child has to pick between the lesser of two evils. To the foster parents that do provide a safe home I thank you. To those who don’t…all I can say is you’ll be answering to God one day.
3. The child’s actions is NOT always what it seems. Many children who go into the foster system may find themselves making bad choices. For example, when Deja stole makeup from the store. She stole because she didn’t have any makeup to wear to the dance. It wasn’t right, but I’m sure her Foster Dad wouldn’t have been helpful if she asked him. We have to remember to teach and lead these kids to make the right choice. Instead of the foster dad hitting the daughter — he could have found a better way to handle the situation. Give the children consequences for their actions. Make them pay back the amount of what they stole. Maybe even have them help out the store owner. Kids make bad choices. I’m sure you made mistakes as a kid. I know I did. I wrote on a bathroom wall at school when I was a kid. I thought it was cool. I wasn’t a bad child and nor did my mom make me feel like I was.
4. We can make a difference. For foster parents who are in the trenches I want you to read this closely. If you are providing a loving home for the children in your care — then please know you will make a difference. Even if the child is in your home for a few days…YOU can make a difference in their lives. If that child is in your care for a long time or you adopt them…understand it may take a while for you to see the fruits of your labor. Don’t give up on these kids. They are testing you. They want to see if you’ll push them aside. Don’t do it. I do understand circumstances are different with each kid. Not every child is easy to care for. (Once again, I’ll soon experience this first hand.) but remember you are making a world of difference in the lives of these kids.