As a foster parent, you hear a lot of things about how awful the parents must be, how awful the system is, how awful the workers are, how awful other foster parents are. There are so many judgements, but this only shows one side of the story, and the story doesn't just have two sides. It's like a diamond. So many sides, imperfections often hide the beauty, not one person can see all the sides at one time, but when looked at carefully there is some beauty regardless of how clouded or imperfect it may be.
This tells me there is more to the story than any worker has told me. The evidence is in the kids.
The little girl I am watching, shows care and kindness towards her baby brother, this shows she has had a good role model in some areas, she can count to six, which shows she was given the time to be taught, she has interest in the potty at an age younger than some great parents have bothered to teach their kids, she loves snuggling, which shows someone snuggled with her before me, she brings me books, which shows me someone reads to her. There are so many wonderful characteristics I see that most likely were taught by their parents. None of these reflect heartless, evil people.
I have yet to meet these parents. The selfish part of me wants to hate them, assume they are evil, assume that all the bad stuff I have heard is true, but reality has struck. These parents are most likely loving, kind people who have made a series of bad decisions. Should there be consequences for their decisions? Of course! But good people make bad decisions everyday and unfortunately consequences can hurt far worse than the pleasure of the decision.
My heart hurts for them, my heart hurts for the children and many others who have been in their shoes, my heart hurts for me, because there is a possibility I will have to say goodbye... forever. My heart just hurts!
At forty eight hours, I realized that I was attached to these kids. I realized that its going to hurt bad if and when they have to leave, and I realized that their parents are hurting far worse than I will, because these children were never mine. I always knew this. I wish they were, but not at the expense of someone else's pain. Yet, that's how foster care is. There is never a happy ending. Someone gets hurt always. I am certain there has never been a foster care case in the history of foster care that ever did not ultimately cause pain for most all involved.
So I am thinking, do I want to keep putting my heart on the line? Do I want to put myself through this pain over and over again? Maybe if I were in a different circumstance, but right now I'm still trying to build my family. So I am going to love these children with every fiber of my being, put my heart and sweat in them, and allow my heart to break when and if they leave or witness other people's heart break if they don't. Either way, the kids lose someone they care about, for them its a lose lose. They lose one set of parents for another.
But after them.... I will move on to other pursuits - adoption, maybe IVF again. Maybe we will venture back through this avenue down the road, but I am weak, I cannot keep having my heart break. I wish I were strong. I wish I could block out other people's pain. I wish that I had the strength to help others in need even at the expense of my own heart, but I am not built like that. I am no Mother Theresa.
Yet, I am glad I did it. I am glad I met the people I met. I am glad I have loved the children (and those involved) that were placed with us. I am glad that I helped people in small ways through one of the hardest times in their life.
Please pray for us, the parents, the kids, as this journey plays out. Consider starting your own journey, but know that if you have never experienced true heart break, you will.... but someone else will be hurting more.