To the Foster Mom without Kids This Mother’s Day

It was exactly a year ago that my husband and I got the call, “You are certified foster parents.” After 4 months of training, LOTS of paperwork and home studies we were finally able to welcome foster kids into our home.

In the last year we’ve had 8 girls come in our home. The youngest was 7 and the oldest 17. A few stayed a week while others stayed almost a year. I never expected my life to be changed so much by letting these girls into our home. We mostly fostered teen girls this year and it was pretty fun. They taught me slang words, how to contour my face, what the latest fashions were and some even laughed at my jokes. But among those amazing moments there was a lot of low moments. All of them left me with my heart broken a little more each time. Sadly, this Mother’s Day I will be celebrating without any foster kids and that makes me sad.

I recently watched the HBO documentary, “Foster” that premiered this week. The part that left me in sobbing tears was at the end when the single foster mom gets cards, hugs and appreciation from all of her foster kids. I realized that no child I have fostered in the last year will be here for Mother’s Day. Yes, it’s probably conceited of me, but as a mom/foster mom I want to be told sometimes that I am making difference. Why? Because that is my hope as a foster parent. However, I won’t know if I have made a difference for MANY years if at all.

Our last foster teen left about a week ago because she chose to no longer to be in our home. While I have a very beautiful daughter of my own and a son in my growing belly, I will be morning all my girls who are no longer here.

I will mourn because I don’t know how much of an impact I had on them. I will mourn the loss of them because I don’t get to hug and thank them for making me a foster mom. I will mourn them because I may never see them again. I will mourn them because I don’t know if they are safe. But among the mourning I will remember the laughs, the jokes, the new things we taught them while in our home and so much more.

To other foster moms who won’t have kids this year — I feel you. My heart goes out to you. Especially those who don’t have children of their own. I pray you give yourself a moment to mourn the loss of these kiddos who are no longer with you. But like me, try to remember the fun times. Maybe one day we will know the true impact we had on these kids.

To my former foster kiddos who may read this one day: I  want you that Steven and I will always love you as our own children. You guys brought so much joy in our lives and we will be forever changed. If you ever need a home away from home we hope you consider ours. I pray we see you guys again one day!

 

This Is Us: 4 Takeaways For Foster Parents from this week’s episode.

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*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.

  1. 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.

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