A New Foster Dad Shares His Heart

To anyone who wants to know what fostering is like, let me tell you a little about it. To be honest I didn’t want to foster at first. I kept asking myself why would I want to deal with someone else’s problems? How could I deal with kids who probably have never been in a stable environment and have no idea how to react? You’re not ready for this. I told myself a lot of things.

They were all wrong; I just didn’t know it yet.

When we got our two girls, it was hard. Still is to be honest. We were the bad guys because they couldn’t go home. Little Bit would scream her lungs out any time I would be in the same room as her. Bigger Bit told me how much she hated me for things I had never done on a daily basis. All I wanted to do was love them and all I got was constant rejection simply because of the way they had been mistreated. Things got worse before they got better. There were tantrums lasting hours. Nap time was non-existent. Everyone was up all night.... Every night.... All of us were exhausted and frustrated. Nobody knew each other or how to deal with each other. After a while, things slowly began to get better. Trust started to build and they began to realize that we weren’t going to hurt them. We just wanted to love them. I really struggled with not being able to play with and love on them like I was as a kid because they really just were not comfortable around me.

Finally, I got to read them a bedtime story. They let me play with them a little. Then, a little more. Then, a little more. Even though it was a roller coaster of emotions daily, it kept getting a little easier each day. It’s been over 3 months now. It’s still hard, but it’s fun. Now I can play with them and love on them like a parent should. Now I can enjoy being Dad to them for however long I get to be a part of their lives. I’m not saying I’m great at it by any means. I screw up on a daily basis. But in the end I’ve realized something. They aren’t problems to be dealt with. They’re good kids who got dealt a bad hand in life. As hard as they can be to deal with, I love them and everything about them. It’s hard to deal with them getting mad at you for absolutely no reason you can figure out other than you simply exist and in their world are the reason they can’t go home. But when you come home from work and they walk up to you and give you a big hug and say “I love you Daddy,” all that doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you love on them and show them what a parent is supposed to do. Thankfully, I have had good examples of what that is and I can’t thank them enough for all the love I’ve been shown. So in the end while I never thought in a thousand years I would ever do foster care, I won’t ever regret our decision to do so.

—Oconee Foster Dad

Abby Crooks