Letter to a Foster Mom
Here is a Letter to a Foster Mom from my friend who blogs ashttps://thechristiansocialworker.com/. She is a Social Worker completing her Master's degree and we collaborate on Instagram.
A Letter to a Foster Mom
Dear Foster Mom,
I’m exhausted. I’m tired. And yes I know you’ve called me three days straight. I know you need Medicaid numbers, therapist referrals and approval to travel out of state next week.
But I’m really tired.
After being at the office all week with the teen on my caseload that keeps running away and acting out in anger, I feel like I have nothing left. And to be honest? You’re kind of frustrating me. You say you want me to be 100% responsive 100% of the time for the sake of the child, and then a month later you call and request my child be moved to a new placement. And, you are the most important person in my foster child’s life but often I feel as though you cast them out as soon as their trauma becomes too inconvenient for you. You ask me to see you with eyes of grace, knowing and understanding how difficult your task is. But honestly, I feel I often don’t get the same courtesy. I know you care. I do. But sometimes you meddle. If you really care about birth parents come alongside them to mentor them. Don’t follow them on social media to purposively catch them in a bad moment. Don’t triumph in their failures. When you make them the “enemy” you make my job harder, and they will inevitably feel your disapproval. Remember that this bond the child in your home has with their birth parent can never be replaced. Even in adoption, it will always be there. Treat that bond with the honor it deserves.
I know you’re tired too.
I know your needs are important. I’m sorry that sometimes I don’t respond when I should. I’m sorry for all of the times you may have felt disrespected by me or like your needs didn’t matter. They do. For all you sacrifice you deserve a child welfare system that will be responsive to you. I’m sorry that we often fall short of that.
In fact you are probably the only person who can even remotely understand me, but so often we alienate one another. Frankly, the task allotted to you is even harder. you are doing this 24/7. Even though my job often feels like it is 24/7, it isn’t, and if I set good boundaries I can step away.
You give up your schedule...
...your free time, your sleeping patterns, your very sense of normal for the sake of these children you have committed to love. Not only that, you spend more of your own money than anyone will ever know; I know those meager monthly stipends don’t cut it. I know that no one will ever see the unseen sacrifices made in your home and in your heart every day, to love a child you may never get to call your own.
It is the nature of nurturing adults...
...to attach and to desire to love forever the children in their care. Although you invest and strive to bring healing to the children in your home, you may never get to love that child into adulthood, or even see the long term fruits of your labor.
You have one of the hardest tasks anyone can undertake on this earth: earning trust and a relationship with a child in their most vulnerable state, while teaching them that the world is trustworthy, despite past experience. You have to hold your family with open palms, living with uncertainty never knowing what is to come at the next court hearing or even the next day.
Much like me, your every move is scrutinized, and when you do make a mistake grace is hard to find. I know how you feel when you run into behaviors that your training didn’t prepare you for. It’s Ok. Mine didn’t prepare me either. I know that feeling of helplessness and inadequacy all too well. Maybe we can find common ground there, and we can give grace to one another for our mistakes. After all, we both want the same things.
We both want these children we served to be healed, made whole, and see permanency. Both of us signed up for this out of our love for serving the most vulnerable in our community. We both are one of the few who truly know the brokenness and deep need that lies hidden in our community. We both know the frustration of trying to tell another person about this underground world and receiving the flippant and dismissing remarks. They don’t want to face it. They don’t want to deal with it. But we do.
So lets link arms together, as partners, to fight the good fight.
Letter to a Foster Mom response
Thank you, Blake, for this letter to a foster mom. I just learned a lot about what goes through your mind. I appreciate your honesty and this letter will definitely make me a better foster parent. Here's a post dedicated to providing support to foster parents: https://impressingminds.com/foster-parent-support/ - Kristen
How can you make interactions more productive and professional? Read this post to find out how: https://impressingminds.com/professional-foster-parenting/