See and Be Seen, Foster Mom
Being Seen as a Foster Mom
-based upon a YouVersion Bible App Devotional called "SEEN"; reworked specifically for foster moms. https://theseenbook.com/
In our journey through foster care, there are two relationships that our souls desire: a connection with our Heavenly Father and a connection with other foster families. We are designed for a community longing to be seen and known. Being seen goes beyond outward observations; it means being understood, loved, and acknowledged as we are - flaws and all. Within each of us lies a deep well of thoughts, personality traits, passions, emotions, and beliefs. However, in today's culture, the connection often feels superficial, overwhelming us with anxiety and despair. If you find yourself or a foster son or daughter in this state and feeling incapable of helping, discover some ideas to make others feel the way you long to feel - SEEN.
The Foster Mom's Heart and Mind Disconnection
Our journey starts by understanding the biblical concept of our hearts. Scripture often refers to the "heart", which encompasses our emotions.
In the intricate design of our brains, God has wired us with two sides, each with different functions. The right side of the brain is where our emotional processing takes place - our biblical "heart"; while the left is dedicated to logical thinking - our mind.
When we experience despair, fear, or anxiety, our "hearts" go into overdrive, stalling our logical processing.
Connections play a vital role in balancing our heart's functioning. Knowing that someone sees us and our circumstances allows us to calm down. Have you ever 'vented' to someone and felt better when they acknowledged your feelings and perspectives?
Our brains are designed to respond to love and empathy, facilitating healing. This is, obviously, also true of our foster children. When they experience trauma, it rewires their brain, so they often do not think logically because their emotions have taken over.
Healing, comfort, compassion, and connection must occur for the mind to become more neutral.
The Foster Mom's Need and the Foster Child's Need for Connections
To truly allow our hearts to breathe, we moms require two essential connections: a connection with Jesus and a connection to other foster mothers. These connections are intertwined as they complement and nourish one another. The Bible emphasizes the importance of these connections.
Proverbs 20:5 "The purpose in a man's heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out,"
DEEP refers to the dark, murky water of the ocean or an old-fashioned well that needed a bucket to draw the water up. When a child comes to your home, they often have deep, dark, and hidden issues in their soul - trauma responses that they don't even understand. We must be a foster mom who understands with compassion and is capable of drawing this water out and letting the child feel seen.
We need to offer hope to that child through connection with us and connections with their biological families while in foster care. Other connections we should encourage are friends from a former school or neighborhood—family members who are safe and court-approved.
We can draw out the deep, dark, and hidden issues because the Holy Spirit lives in us and gives us the understanding we need. We can have wisdom when we ask God how to draw out these elements of a child's life and form genuine connections.
Psalm 147:3 "[God] heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."
Thank goodness that the brokenhearted can be healed! This verse gives me hope for myself and those children in my care. I know of no other group more brokenhearted than foster children! They are a very broken group of youngsters that depend on someone to make an impact on their lives. Foster parents can be the person who brings God to them so He can bind up their emotional, mental, and physical reaction wounds from the trauma of their past. Connect with the foster child today to introduce them to the God who heals.
Understanding divine and human connections are vital for a Truthful approach to healing. Our foster children need these connections too. They are coping with anger, rejection, and despair.
Throughout history, biblical figures faced major struggles - prison, exile, loneliness, rejection, and abandonment (Jesus felt this on the cross from His Father and the disciples who left him). How did they survive despite enduring tremendous hardships?
We can find the answer in deep connections on multiple levels with many people - connections with people who understand the experiences, victories, and hardships.
Iron sharpening iron! https://www.compellingtruth.org/iron-sharpens-iron.html
To maintain the connection with the Heavenly Father, Jesus modeled the practice of daily withdrawal to connect in prayer. Daniel created a similar practice of going to prayer multiple times each day, as his parents taught him when he was a child.
Moreover, Paul's deep connections with others and interactions with Christian brothers and sisters allowed him to pray, emotionally breathe, experience empathy, and feel seen. Paul never carried his burdens alone because his sphere made him feel seen and connected. Even in prison, he found solace in knowing he was not alone; guards, visitors, and the Spirit were with him.
Disconnection and Mental Health of the Foster Mom
In our contemporary culture, stillness often evokes discomfort - we are always busy, and technology is no more than a few inches away from us at all times. However, stillness is required for processing the emotions and thoughts we may have avoided on our foster mom journey - grief, anger, confusion, and rejection.
Our brains collect emotions over time, with stress-producing hormones constantly entering our bloodstream. This stress can shut off our logical thinking in our "foster mom" mind. We can't think clearly. We can be disgruntled and hateful with our children and our husbands. Not only that, but we are driving a wedge between us and the foster children who need us to be mentally healthy.
Foster Moms and Secondary Trauma
We may be overcome with emotions from time to time or constantly. Our foster children are in heightened emotional thinking - not logic - and it transfers to us. Secondary trauma is a real element of foster care. We must deal with this through connection with others, but more importantly, with connection to Jesus in prayer and fasting. Yes, fasting too...
Is there hope for our foster children's healing in a world where connection is limited?
Our fostering hearts may be angry, frustrated, anxious, or despairing because of the trauma that has entered our home through no fault of the child. By understanding the connection between our "hearts" and "minds", we can claim the power and example of Christ for obtaining emotional well-being and setting an example for the children we care for. They need to see us healthily connecting with others. They need to see us connecting with Jesus each day as well.
Drawing inspiration from biblical figures like Daniel, Paul, and Jesus, we learn valuable lessons about the significance of connection. Just as Paul found peace and support in his connections with God and fellow believers, we can cultivate these connections to nurture our souls and, ultimately, our foster children. Embracing moments of stillness, we are purposeful in processing deep, personal emotions, confronting hidden worries or trauma, and finding true peace. Journaling these moments can take this process to the next level. You can reflect while gaining encouragement as God works out these situations for good.
As we foster moms journey toward connection, we must recognize love's power and impact on ourselves and others - like the ones entrusted to us through foster care. Speaking love, life, and hope into our lives and those around us can be transformational.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant, or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful... I Corinthians 13:4-5
This verse explains connection when someone may not want to connect to you. Love. By practicing love, we become conduits of healing, mirroring the example set by Jesus, who saw beyond behavior and met people in their struggles - mental, emotional, or physical.
We can be agents of change by connecting with God, our foster friends, and our foster children. We create spaces where healing can occur by listening, understanding, truly "seeing," and loving others. Let us strive to build connections rooted in love, reaching beyond the surface and nurturing the depths of each person's soul so they feel valuable to us.
As you go on your journey this Mother's Day, Foster Mom, remember the profound impact of connection and being seen by others. Seek a deeper connection with God through Bible study, prayer, fasting, and meeting with other Christians. Invest in meaningful relationships with like-minded people with the same passions for fostering; SEE EACH OTHER. Extend empathy and love to the children in your home. Truly SEE them.
Extend empathy to their parents as well.
Foster Mom: Embrace the transformative power of connection and become THE LIGHT of healing in a dark world that yearns for truth and life.
Together, connected foster parents can create a tapestry of love that weaves hope, understanding, and belonging into the fabric of our foster care lives. How will you connect with your Heavenly Father tomorrow? How can you purposefully connect to others in your situation? If you cannot find another foster mom, then perhaps an older mother who has reared a large family or someone who used to do foster care. Perhaps you could find a social worker who worked for the system but is now retired. Find someone.
Leave a comment telling us additional ways to connect to others and God.