Tonight I sat on the couch with my broken little girl and held her while she cried. Tonight we watched a movie and held a puppy while we waited for the grief to subside. Tonight, once again, I told her that it’s OK to hurt.
Someone asked me recently if I thought that everyone who wants children should consider adoption. I am absolutely an advocate for adoption but I found myself pausing before I answered. The problem is that sometimes when we promote adoption and highlight the happy families it can create, we gloss over the darker side. The truth is that every tearjerker story about a family being brought together starts with another story of absolute devastation. Our children are not simply gifted to us, they are taken or abandoned or orphaned first. Sometimes the love of a new family helps to heal the wounds of that loss; sometimes it isn’t enough.
Maintaining relationships with birth families is complicated. For us, it goes beyond the occasional visit and shared pictures. I want my kids to have family traditions with each of their families.
Fostering is hard. This is a slow and hard process and there are no guarantees. We all have tough moments but our general attitude has to be that we want what is best for the kids even if that hurts us. I believe with all my heart that every child deserves to have someone that will be devastated to see them go. If you can be that person who opens your heart knowing it will be broken, then maybe fostering is for you. But if you can’t, then you should look for another way to help kids or grow your family.
Little Man has started dancing. It’s the funniest thing. He just bops his little butt along to any beat he finds, especially that new Pizza Hut commercial with the guitar. I know it isn’t a major skill like walking but it’s one of those parenting moments where they make you stop and smile and forget about the fact that you survived from Sunday till Friday on 14 hours of sleep. To me, those little mile stones are bittersweet. They are a part of what makes being a foster parent so rewarding. I experience the joy of watching this little person develop right before my eyes but that means that someone else isn’t seeing what I see. In a few weeks, he’ll go live with his dad and start this whole new relationship with a year’s worth of missed little moments.
I understand that I’m a foster mom and I have no real hold on my little girl but right at the moment I’m especially frustrated with a system that places the wishes of selfish adults above the rights of an innocent child. So for now I just rock my temporary baby and assure her that she can always call me mommy, even if it is mommy with an asterisk.