There is no reward for giving yourself to another unconditionally, and as foster parents, that’s what we do. We make a child feel loved, safe, and happy. We do that by giving our time, our hearts, our home and sharing our extended family with them. No strings attached.
Now the problem comes when a child leaves your home for whatever reason. You pack up all their belongings, all of the photos and memories you made with them and you make sure that your kiddos favorite stuffed animals on the top so that they won’t be scared or afraid in a new place.
I cried and cried while spending a heartbreaking day packing up everything and organizing all of the paperwork. Then at some point, a social worker comes to pick up everything. The social worker doesn’t, won’t, or can’t tell you about your kiddo and eventually, they drive away with everything.
We grieve the loss of a child that was never ours. We have quiet dinners absent of laughter. We have Christmas gifts that will never be given. We even go as far as to change that child’s room, we move the bed, we replace the sheets and we try to erase the pain of not seeing them any longer.
Now we have a guest bedroom. It’s pretty, it’s always clean and it’s empty …
This is when foster care has failed its greatest advocates. A heart that was once open and loving is now broken.
If you’ve ever fostered a child, you know the feeling. If you’re thinking about becoming a foster parent, do it. It’s incredible and rewarding, but do so understanding that it does end and not always the way you would like.