Becoming a foster parent was honestly not something I ever thought I would do. I was sure that I would get too attached & having to say good bye was something I just didn’t think my sensitive soul would be able to handle.
Adoption? Yes! That always sounded great! I would get to KEEP the child that came into our home & had our hearts & affection.
But no matter what my previous thoughts on the matter was, there we were sitting in the foster care classes. & I realized something huge. Foster care wasn’t about me. That statement in itself sounds pretty obvious. But the reality is much heavier.
This thing called foster care is about helping kids, who’s parents, need some time to get their crap together. It’s about offering some kind of stability to them & showing them love while they are navigating many unknowns. It’s about helping families come back together, after they’ve put in the work, with the resources given to them.
Foster care isn’t just about me. It isn’t just about kids. It is about helping people heal & saying “hey, let me take care of your child while you breathe & get back on your feet.”
Now that I’m in the thick of it all, I’m even more aware of all the judgements that EVERYONE naturally has about ALL parties of this system,
I’ve heard nonchalant comments about bio parents & “how could they ever….whatever they did??”
I’ve heard bio parents talk about foster parents “doing it just for the check”.
I’ve heard people put down social workers, because “they don’t care about anyone”.
I’ve heard social workers speak with disdain about .
I’ve heard people assume that our little girl was obviously not cared for, not wanted, disregarded, having no one to take the time to know her while she was in the system.
So, I’ve naturally, being who I am, have been brainstorming “how do I talk about this?” How do I help change the narrative? I have SO much to say about it.
& so I landed on: it might take more than one simple blog post, until I feel I’ve communicated my heart fully, but I have to start somewhere. So here I go….
Our daughter was in a foster home with an older woman, whom everyone calls Mimi, before she came to us.
When she arrived with a duffle bag & back pack full of things & not much more, it was difficult to say the least. A lot of questions run through your head leading up to & during these moments: What is she used to? How has she been treated? How much attention was she given? In the same breath you want all the answers you can get & you wonder if you really want to know…?
So I’ve being trying my best to let her provide bits of information as they come up. Naturally, she brings up Mimi. She will say things like “Mimi gone now?” or “I don’t miss Mimi”. Which I’ve figured out, really means, she doesn’t want to miss Mimi, but she does.
I tell her that it’s okay to miss Mimi & to also be happy to live here.
Then she’ll say, “Mimi sad. Mimi crying”.
I then asked her, “are you happy?” She said, “yes!” I replied, “then Mimi is happy!”
This was enough to satisfy her in the moment, but not enough to keep her from bringing it up a couple of days later & then again a few days after that. So I was able to find someone who knew Mimi. They confirmed that Mimi has been a foster mom for years & even though she knows that kids will move on, she always cries when they leave.
So we sat down at the table to color a picture to send to Mimi. She was SO excited! I suggested that she draw her some flowers.
Me: “Do you know how to draw a flower?”
She says yes to everything & she in fact did NOT know how to draw flower. So I asked her if I could show her how to draw one. She quickly agreed.
I drew a simple flower. She scribbled next to it & looked up at me with a huge grin.
As each person got home or called on FaceTime, she had to show them…“look at Mimi’s flowers! Mommy drew Mimi flowers!”
I will never know what went on during the time our sweet girl lived with Mimi. But the fact that Mimi had a tear filled goodbye, would love to hear how our girl is doing, & that our sweet girl misses her, are enough for me to decide to settle on “Mimi was not, in it for the check.”
I can’t help but wonder…what would happen if our views of foster care were based on the success stories? The people who actually care about kids & families? The bio parents that actually work their butts off to get healthy & reunite with their family?
What if we saw the system as flawed while also realizing that not all bio parents deserved to have their kids taken away? Or at least acknowledge, that bio parents care about their kids too, even if it doesn’t look like what you’re used to.
Foster parents are flawed.
Bio parents are flawed.
Social workers are flawed.
Just because something is flawed doesn’t mean we give up on it or take no part in it.
What would you need to see or hear to decide to try & incite change?
Rather than writing off a system that is at least trying to help. We choose to love one child & family at a time with all that we have & that is something!
A modest crayon drawn flower was a simple way to love our daughter well. To show her, that we love who she loves.
It is our hope that this simple act [& others like it] will help build trust, provide closure, & model a love that is woven into the fabric of her already loving personality.
Loving others is the easiest complex task.
Let us keep doing our best, friends! By fostering love, & moving forward together.
Do you have experience with foster care? Or adoption? Please comment below! I’d love to have more success stories to share!