foster care

Foster care rolls me out so flat, I am curly at the ends.

I have been working professionally for 5 years now, advocating for children in foster care.  I thought it impossible to have my eyes any wider open. I was more prepared for this journey than any of those other schmucks in our foster parent training classes.  Ha!  Haha!  Some things I knew and in some ways I was prepared.  But the sheer, unexpected force of foster care is unanticipateable (hey, it’s my blog and I’ll make up words if I want to).

I prepared myself for the going part of these children coming.  I prepared myself for innocence turned into negative behavior triggered by trauma.  I prepared my home to every silly legislative requirement.  But I never expected…

I never expected the children to walk straight into my heart.  I never expected any of them to come and stay, like forever.  I never expected them to be so small!  I said, “send me the older ones, the tough ones” and our once family of three is verging on adding two under two.

I never expected… Listen.  I used to speak to groups of hundreds of people and I would say, “these children come with a ‘verizon network’ of people connected to them.”  But when that ‘verizon network’ turned into a parade of people marching though my front door, one at a time?  It was an overwhelming flood.

I never expected the expectations.  I have never met so many people who expect perfection in parenting.  Even with the job where I WAS one of those people.

I never expected to be so dismissed – either I’m doing it for the money, or because I want to adopt, or because I’m crazy, or because I’m a saint – each reason an excuse to create distance between me and the “sane” folks.

Hey, I get it that it doesn’t look reasonable from where you’re sitting.  I’m not really asking you to approve – but I admit to caring that you don’t.  I don’t deserve that – but mostly, neither do these children.

Before signing up for this, I had a good, veteran foster parent friend tell me not to do it if I didn’t want to feel “stretched.” Wise – that one.


5 thoughts on “foster care

  1. I approve with all of my heart, and I also can’t help putting you in the saint category. Foster care is not something I can do (for many reasons), and I greatly admire those who can make room in their lives and their hearts for “the least of these.”

  2. Great post. All the books, training, advise, prior experience with children, knowledge and experience with the system…can’t prepare you for what becoming a foster parent/family is “really” like. It is hard. Period. But the kids are worth it. Period. Thank you for being a foster parent.

  3. Pingback: foster care continued | open book open heart

  4. Pingback: I take it all back | open book open heart

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