Dear Foster Mom,
I know that sometimes you feel as if you are all alone. What you do on a weekly, daily, and hourly basis is so far removed from what your friends are doing as moms. But, they don’t understand that, do they?
I know that you are pouring your heart out, laying it open, for littles who are not your own. That’s not to say that you don’t long for them to be, but you understand the reality that at any moment the connection you’ve worked so hard to build, the relationship you strive to grow, the heart you long to protect, can unexpectedly be broken. You live daily in fear that your heart is about to break, but you can’t really show that.
Deep inside you, your soul longs to shelter the souls that are in your care. You want to protect them against all evil that may be present in their world. You want to shield them from the ups and downs that causes them hope and loss over and over again.
They come to you, fearful. They come to you, broken. They come to you with a sorrow that is beyond measure and that they don’t understand. They look up at you with big tears in their eyes and you want to fix their broken-ness. But, you can’t — not really. So you weep with them, when they can’t see your tears. You pray for them in ways you never have before. You walk the floor at night because in the dark their fear is profound and great and strong.
While you work to show them great love, they remain distant, indifferent, guarded. You long for them to attach to you, trust you, open up to you. Yet, you understand why they will struggle and fight against that. You know that your heart might be just another temporary place of shelter so you get why they remain withdrawn.
Your goal is to teach them to bond with others. Your goal is to foster love into their souls. Yet, you are told to not get too close, to understand your place, to remember that these precious ones, are not your own.
Every day you repeat the same instructions time and time again, and wonder if they’ve never had any form of instruction before. Every day you remind them that there is and will always be food in your home even though they are fearful that their won’t be another meal. Every day you patiently sit in with them instead of timing them out because they need to be taught behaviour through inclusion rather than exclusion.
You try to instill some normalcy through routine, yet, you must be flexible with your schedule. You have doctors appointments, visitations, phsychology assessments, case plan discussions, home visits and more. So that longed for normalcy looks and feels quite chaotic and you wonder if your work is doing any good, at all, for the ones you are working on behalf of.
Your heart, it gets tired, doesn’t it? It gets tired of always waiting on the edge of your seat for the phone to ring, for circumstances to change. You get weary of knowing what IS right and not having a voice in the discussion. You get overwhelmed with grief when you imagine what lies ahead that is outside your control. And then, you feel alone. Because even those who should understand, even those who say they want what’s best, at the end of the day goes home to their own families without 2 thoughts for the children who hurt, or so it seems.
The work that you do, classes, background checks, paperwork, inspections, home studies, etc., is never enough. There is always more to do. There will always be more classes required, no matter how many you take. There will always be more paperwork to manage. There will always be re-certifications. No matter how much experience you have or how long you’ve been in the trenches there will always be a young, 20 something, recent college grad, telling you what to do. I see it. I know it. I pray for you.
Sadly, you get a bad rap, don’t you? You get beaten on emotionally by biological families, case workers, court appointed attorneys, and guardians, and, sometimes, even by magistrates. You get crushed by news reports, and worldly opinions. You get accused of doing it for financial gain, when you are losing money hand over foot. You stand, daily, on the brink of a childhood accident that might cause you to lose everything because of the scrutiny with which you are judged. You must be stronger, wiser, than most parents, and you must be always at the ready to give a documented defense for the life a child lives while in your care.
Then there are those that you remember. The ones that you continue to pray for though you haven’t seen them in so long, in fact, you most likely will never see them again. You worry and wonder over them as a mother hen worries over her chicks. You fret at night as you lie on your bed, unable to sleep, because you wonder if they are safe, fed, loved. You pray and offer your fears to the Father because He, of course, is your only comfort.
And you try! to put on a brave face, because everyday you wake, after little sleep, you prepare breakfasts, clean up beds and brush teeth and meander through the emotional wreck of children who are sweet, innocent, and confused. You set out not knowing what the day will hold but determined to meet it head on with courage. Knowing that you can, once again, be broken at any moment.
Dear foster mom, I see you, I know your heart, I pray for your spirit. I know that the work you do is unlike any other. I know it’s a thankless, necessary job, and one that you may never see the rewards of. I see that your heart often crushes under the weight of your responsibility even though you desperately try not to show it.
I know… because I once was where you are. I still, pray for littles who have long ago gone from me and in the course of time are now adults, yet, I still pray for the 10 littles that I was allowed to love for but a brief time.
So I am thanking you for your work. I’m thanking you for your protecting spirit. I’m thanking you for your heart that so willingly loves, even when it seems impossibly difficult. I thank you!
This Post is part of the iHomeschool Network Dear Mom Link Up.