Several years ago, my husband and I became foster parents. Many other parents in the foster program would yammer on about how rewarding it was to be a foster parent. They talked about the joy of helping a child in need. Do you know what I thought it was to be a foster parent? HARD! It was the most physically exhausting, mentally challenging and completely draining thing I have undertaken in my life.
Am I glad I did it? Absolutely. Would I do it again? Not on your life. Going from no children in your house to two siblings under 7, whose main hobby is fighting with each other, is a daunting task to say the least. We only had “our girls” for a short time. However, we still see them regularly. It is amazing to see the young ladies they have become. They are both doing well in school and the older one will be starting high school in the fall.
They are fortunate. They were adopted by a family member who appreciates that we still want to be a part of their lives. Their grandmother is an amazing woman who put aside all of her own plans and needs to take care of these girls. She is the reason they are polite. She is the reason they can read and do math. She is the reason they feel safe and wanted every single day. She is largely responsible for the lovely, strong, intelligent women they are becoming.
I am pleased to be a tiny part of who they are. My husband and I have been able to teach them a few life lessons as well: how a loving couple treat each other, how to show respect, how strangers are willing to help people by sharing their home and their hearts, and how some people can be depended on. Forever.
If you know a foster parent, grandparent, aunt or brother who has helped raise a child, let them know they matter. More grandparents and family members are raising children than ever before. Offer to babysit, carpool or listen to their struggles. They are superheroes but even superheroes need a sidekick now and then.