Foster Parent Reflects on Her "Why"
This was contributed by a young first-time Oconee Foster Parent! We are so thankful she is on our fostering team, and since writing this accepted her second placement: TWINS!
Many people have been asking why we decided to foster so I thought I'd write this so you'd know. I didn't grow up with a desire to foster or adopt (the most I knew about was from Annie, seriously) and even a year ago if you had told me we'd have two little ones I would have called you crazy. We aren't doing this hoping to adopt (not ruling it out , just not our goal), we're just doing it because we have some empty rooms and some love.
I became a foster parent because I know there are many parents out there who are lost and who we have failed. We let them slip through the cracks of the educational system. We allowed them to feel as failures and let them drop out or be satisfied with the status quo. We ridiculed their "lack of motivation" and their parents lack of involvement, and we didn't stop to ask why that was so. We saw them live in the cycle of poverty and didn't try to break them out or try to better society so the cycle ceases to exist. Instead of using their schooling to foster a love of others, a nurturing nature, and to teach them how to raise a child and pay bills and not succumb to drugs, we made sure their MAP test showed they were growing and their percentile rank went up. We didn't give them adequate education about how to prevent babies from being born and we brought shame and ridicule unto them for having babies so young so they already felt inferior. We jailed them for drugs, but didn't get them adequate, continual therapy to keep them clean. We too often blame them for the situations we let continue or turned a blind eye to.
You can't do better than you know. You can't become something you've never even dreamed about. You can't learn something that was never taught to you.
So, I'm here trying to help them raise their kids, so they get a break. So, they can try to learn what it means to have a kid and to take care of them. I do not ever think (save some rare cases) that a mother/father does not love their child, sometimes they're just doing the best they can and the best they know how. My job is to make it so they can learn better, without the stress of raising their kids while they're learning how to raise them and take care of them. I'm here to give their kids a safe place to lay their head, a place to be loved and taken care of, and to show them how to help take care of themselves.
And yeah, is my heart going to be ripped out and broken in two in a few weeks when they leave? Yes. Have I already cried about it more than I'd like to admit?. Yes. And will it the next time? I'm almost positive always. But, I'm an adult. I am honored to carry that burden so some sweet innocent children can be placed back with their families who love them and worked hard to earn them back.
We've only been at this two months, so I don't know everything (or really anything, let's be honest!) but I do know that I'm doing it, and we're making it. It's not always pretty and it's not all sunshine and happiness but we're together. And if you have some room in your house and some room in your heart I think you should consider doing it, too.