Foster care is a strange thing, the strangest of things actually. You have children in your home that you’re suppose to parent. Children that you change, feed, & play with every day. Children who run to you as soon as they see you, ask you not to work anymore so that you can be with them all day, wrap their arms around you while they cry, & who stay up, despite your spouses best efforts, until they hear you walk through the door at night.
They are also children with birth parents who have screwed up royally that they still love. Parents that may not always show up to visits, or fight during them and make them afraid. Children who get shuffled around with absolutely no notice at all.
That is what happened to our kiddo this week. I got a call at 11 that they wanted to do a make up visit at 12:30. So a social worker picked him & his brother up unannounced & they were put in another car with different car seats and made another over an hour drive to another city.
When he came home, he had a meltdown because BM was not there. He threw things, kicked & punched our walls, & threw some lighter jabs at me because, deep down, he didn’t really want to hurt me. When I asked if he was still sad & needed a hug, he melted. In that moment, you would’ve never known he was the same child who just attacked the foundation of our home, or threw all of his bedding & toys against another wall. The child who clung to me with his eyes running didn’t resemble the one who had, minutes earlier, yelled & screamed, & told me I was mean.
& this is the strangest and worst thing about foster care for me. You have these tiny souls who are counting on you to make things better & protect them. But the thing is you can’t…despite bringing up concerns to their worker, the visits may still go on despite your best efforts to voice why they are not what is best for this child currently. The only power you have is to hold the kiddo in your arms in the wake of yet another devastation. The only thing you can do after another tornado is quickly invent, “monster spray,” to ward off the monsters that have all of a sudden grown significantly in the days of & following the visits.
You’re a parent/caregiver to these kids but you don’t have any power, not really. You can’t protect them from further visits that are causing their trauma to grown & implode on them all over again. You can’t control the schedule of their day, or whether or not their routine will unexpectedly change. Heck, you can’t even take them on vacation without permission. The list goes on.
But let me tell you why it’s worth it. I got to daycare this week & kiddo came running up to me with the biggest smile. He blurted out, “thank you, for coming to get me!!!” & my walls crumbled. If you’re a foster parent, you know the ones. The ones we try to put up so we don’t get too attached to these kids. In an instant, he tore mine down. Despite me. The fact that he was so thankful for something most kiddo’s & adults would think is a given broke me.
You’re not a foster parent for you. Foster parenting is really freaking hard, let’s be honest. But you know what? It’s also really freaking rewarding. ❤️