I can admit that prior to becoming a Foster parent myself, I always wondered why so many Foster folks had such large families. Was it the money or maybe they had a Mother Theresa complex, because it’s so rare to see a small foster family these days. Whenever you watch television they are great at sending a false message of what foster families look like and maybe I was a little guilty of believing things I knew nothing about. Why couldn’t I and others see these folks as having a heart for children, a heart to serve, a heart to help while stretching outside of themselves. Why are we so quick to pass judgment on people and their lives? I am part of a private Foster parents page and so many are sad or struggling with the loss or judgment from family and friends. So often they are not asked to participate in outings or events because many of the kiddos they are loving on have pains and issues that are hard to deal with, especially in public situations. I also hear many feeling isolated by family because, well, ‘they did it to themselves,’ because, really, they did. They didn’t have to help this child or add one more to the mix, they could of stopped and let someone else take care of this child. So when they are having a hard day, who do they vent with or ask advice from when the ones that should be their support are busy judging. What if they didn’t do it to themselves, what if they don’t do it for the money, what if Mother Theresa is a saint many would never try to even compare their lives to.
Lets start with how they did it to themselves. They did cause less sleep for their life, less alone time, less money to go around and less adult time, but, lets stop and think what they really did when they brought that last baby in to their home. They added life to a family, extended their hearts to love more, they chose love over comfort, they chose to take the bible and Gods command to love all orphans as literal and not just some old ancient words. If you are a parent of any number of children, by birth, adoption of fostering you know it can be hard and exhausting and every parent has their days where they need to vent. That need doesn’t change because they are not biologically there children. Be an ear, bring a meal or share a glass of wine with the Foster parent in your life. They just like before, have days where they still need YOU.
I love Mother Theresa, that lady will always hold rockstar status in my eyes, she didn’t own much of anything, spent her days in poverty, served others and only asked for Gods sustaining power to carry her through. She was one of a kind and not many folks are like her and not a single foster parent I have met is trying to be her. They all have things like; t.v’s, cars, homes, clothes, go on some kind of vacations, whether big or small. They are just regular folks that have seen the need and how desperately children in our own backyards need us all to help them. So they stepped up and did what they can, even if that looks different to you, don’t judge them, because trust me, what they are doing isn’t always easy and they don’t do it for the kudos, they do it for the love of the child. I know that a small portion of foster families are bad and have unclean motives, but don’t let that small one percent, cause your taste buds to turn sour over what your friends or family next to you are doing. Join them, invite them over for a BBQ, hear their stories and share in their passion. Encourage them it will mean the world to them.
They do it for the money I bet. I was someone that thought this notion prior to becoming a Foster parent myself, that money had to be at least a small motive, because how could anyone open their home and lives to multiple children that are not their own, if it’s not about the money, right? For the average foster child in Arizona it breaks down to a whopping 63 cents per hour that the Foster family gets. That is 63 cents an hour to be a full time taxi driver to multi doctor and therapy appointments and also pick up and drop off at visits each week with the child’s bio parents, where once you pick that child up, you quickly turn into a therapist to their broken and confused little hearts. Your ability to transition into a Dr. happened often also as you have to take care of immune issues, lice, abuse, fears of showers, cars, the darkness, bed wetting, tantrums and you quickly learn you could make double the money part time, at minim wage and have nights and weekends off and not spend your nights holding a crying child that is scared of God knows what. Then you feed them and my Lord do these kiddos eat, I mean eat. One of mine gained four pounds the first 10 days he was in our home. The real fear of starvation is a strong force so many of these kids have, which causes them to never want to go hungry again, so they eat, gorge, hoard and are always looking for their next meal. Oh yea, did I mention they also usually come to your home with just the dirty clothes on their backs, rarely with even shoes on their feet? So these families get a child and run out to a store to get the basics that day of what they will need. So yes, they do need the money, because I know for so many they couldn’t do it without that extra help, but it’s not what they do it for, because 63 cents an hour just doesn’t cover all they do. Next time you have a bag of hand-me-down kid clothes, maybe instead of Goodwill, you could bless a Foster family in your life with them, because they will be used and so greatly appreciated.
I am sure Ben and I have people that we don’t know about casting judgment our way, but we have way more casting love our way. I am so blessed, our life is full of people that are supportive and encouraging, from church, to family and friends, but most Foster families do not feel this way. Lets change that. The next time you catch your self wanting to judge or roll your eyes at the momma with many kids in tow, don’t, instead, lend a hand, a meal, encouragement, love and just watch and see just how far that love will go. #lovewins