Effort and Empathy

During our foster parenting years, people would often say to me, “I don’t know how you can do this…how you can love the babies and get attached while not knowing if they are going to stay.”

I didn’t have the most eloquent responses back then, and I’m not sure if I even do now, but I do know that it is possible to love, and possibly let go.  It is possible to show care, concern, and respect to biological parents whose children you are caring for.  Not only is it possible, it is essential.  It is also essential to remember that children in foster care should return to their biological families if it is safe for them to do so.

While fostering our children (that we were able to eventually adopt), I always kept in my mind the thoughts of how I would feel if I were in the biological parents’ place.

Would I want to know that my children were being cared for in the most loving manner?

Yes.

Would I want to feel supported?

Yes.

Would I want foster parents to know that the goal of reunification is vital?

Absolutely, yes.

My mantra became, “It’s not about you.”  I spent many nights praying for all involved in their cases (biological parents, case workers, attorneys, court officials).  I also got up each day knowing that everything I offered to the children should be the best of who I am and what I believe.

So, I guess, this is how I did it.  This is how I survived the unknowns, ups and downs, and day-to-day challenges of my foster parenting journey.

In life, effort and empathy are essential.  In fostering parenting, they are as well.