Top Reasons You Couldn't Do Foster Care
Updated: Dec 30, 2022
The reasons why I couldn't do foster care are plain and simple. My friend, Jenny (https://www.facebook.com/Fostering-Through-Faith-191710912482623/) wrote this in relation to her experiences. I read it and it made me cry. It is so real, raw, devastating... I cried when I read it and I hope you will consider her plea. Thank you Jenny for being vulnerable and accepting the call... "The Reasons Why I Couldn't Do Foster Care" is so inspiring.
“I couldn’t be a foster parent.” “We can’t say goodbye. It would be too hard.” “I would get too attached”
If these are your words, then I have a story to share with you. One that is hard for me to tell, because in doing so, I relive the time I met one of the bravest, most inquisitive, and kindest souls I have ever met, and how I had to let him go knowing I wouldn't see him again.
I never thought that I could be a special needs mom until I met J.
I always heard that special needs parents were specially made by God. Interestingly, I didn’t know anything about autism. I wasn’t equipped for it. I didn’t feel specially made for this situation, but when I got the call from our worker, something in my heart knew that our and J’s stories were about to collide.
My nerves slightly eased when I observed his play. I learned that his way of communication was through children’s songs and small phrases he heard in cartoons. I heard God whisper “You’ve got this. Look how amazing he is” and I stood in awe of this little boy as he played. I didn’t feel confident, but God was going to lead me through this. J was here for a reason.
Those first few months were difficult.
Everything was new to him and to us. We weren’t sure of the right way to introduce something new to him, and he wasn't sure how to react. In time, we saw a huge amount of growth in our little boy. Bath time started as the dreaded time of night where his screams filled our home and more water ended up outside the tub than inside.
Eventually, he learned that bath time could be fun and the water wouldn’t hurt him, and he couldn’t wait for his nightly bubble bath.
When he first came he wasn’t able to talk much, but before he left he could make some eye contact, knew how to start conversations with new friends, and the biggest and coolest thing was he learned to read and write. One morning I heard J in his room. When I checked on him he had a handful of books and explained that he woke up and just wanted to read books. My heart was full seeing how far he had come.
After several months we were told that J’s case would be going toward adoption.
We didn’t hesitate to say yes. I wanted more than anything to be his forever mommy. God had other plans here.
After 15 months J was reunited with his biological family. I want to be very clear here: there are no villains in this story. His parents did everything they were asked to do. Reunification is the goal of foster care. We spent 15 months praying for his family and God answered those prayers. This was the ending that was meant to happen.
I also don’t want to downplay the grief I felt. This was the darkest period of my life. I sank into a deep depression. It felt like the sun dimmed that day and everything was turned to gray. I would’ve given anything to hear his laugh just one more time. Everything reminded me of him. I had spent 15 months being his voice, making people understand his world and how he thought, and fighting for what was best for him.
I rocked him in my arms and sang with him as I protected him and helped him learn that different isn’t always scary; a lesson he’ll be teaching people around him for the rest of his life.
I grieved for a year.
In that time I submerged myself in charity work and wholeheartedly relied on God. This is what saved me from my depression.
Every Tuesday I left my house and drove to the church. On the way, I passed J’s street. I never saw him or his family but I thought about them and prayed for them. Then I would arrive at church and sort through piles of children’s clothing in the foster closet. As I folded I would pray for the foster child that would receive each piece of clothing. I wondered who they were and what mountains they were going to climb and I thought of J.
What if we said no?
Where would he be now? Would he still love bath time and giggle at all the bubbles? Or, would he be able to tackle the scary moments knowing he had support? Would he still have a love for reading, science, and pancakes? Before J came to us he was at a shelter for two weeks because no one wanted a 6-year-old with autism.
Because we were willing to say yes, knowing there was a possibility of letting go, he and his parents were given the opportunity to grow. To be honest, we had no idea what we were doing. Like I explained before, we were never prepared or equipped to have a child with autism. This was all God. I prayed. He answered. I watched as He guided our son up terrifying mountains and we praised him when J came out on the other side with a victory. God knew where J was meant to be and we shouldn’t question why but instead celebrate the memories we made with him because it was a gift. He is a gift.
I became a foster parent.
Subsequently, I got attached. I later said goodbye. The truly important things in life aren’t supposed to be easy, and if they were, then the meaning of the outcome wouldn’t be so powerful. Becoming a foster parent meant that J had a home. Getting attached meant he was able to grow because he had our support and love. Saying goodbye meant we were faithful to God’s plan. The fear I felt could have kept us from making one of the most important decisions of our life and the pain I felt was temporary, but the outcome of fostering had an impact on J that will follow him his whole life.
For more information and a similar story, read this post- https://impressingminds.com/dont-adopt-from-foster-care/
What is it like to be a foster mom? This Mother's Day post gives my best effort to explain it: https://impressingminds.com/happy-mothers-day/
How do these children go into foster care, to begin with? Interested to know more? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdLZAHJdewM&t=157s
The reasons "why I couldn't do foster care" are the perfect reasons why you are the perfect person to consider fostering.
List one reason why you could not do foster care in the comments.