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.
Let me tell you that it was awkward calling my husband to explain that I had attempted to run away from home but ran out of gas and now needed to be rescued. Luckily, he’s a good guy so he came right on down. Unluckily, we had no gas at the house.
Here’s the thing, foster parents DO NOT get paid to love our kids. We get paid to feed them and clothe them and be a stable force in their unstable lives. And, when I say we get paid I don’t mean that we make money. In some states, foster parents get as little as $300 a month to care for our charges. (Luckily Texas is higher because I spend more than that on gas in a month going to visits.) We’re asked to do a lot for those few dollars but we are never asked to love these children and really, if we were smart, we wouldn’t.
So, I learned that family court is chaotic and long and confusing… and sad. It’s sad because no matter who wins, there is always a loser. There is someone on the wrong end of the verdict who has to come to grips with the fact they are running out of chances and there really is no one else to blame but themselves. Even worse is when there are kids that lose.
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.
Out of everything that I’ve learned during this journey it has been how absolutely normal foster kids are. They are regular kids with scars from selfish adults who didn’t treat them right. Like many other people, I was scared of foster kids. Especially the older ones just seemed too dangerous to have around my family. True, some of them have worse issues than others but really these are just regular kids that got a rough start. Not average… just normal kids.