Thursday, August 22, 2013

Things they never told me

When we started the process of becoming foster parents, they prepared us for a lot of things.  They prepared us for bad behavior, parental visits, and even reunification. We were told horrible stories about bio-parents and some of the things they try (and most of the time get away with) throughout the child's time in care. But of all the things they prepared us for, they never prepared us for what it would be like to actually like and care for the children's bio-parents. They also never prepared us for liking the bio-parents and then  getting hurt by their mean and stabbing comments.

I learned first hand today what it felt like to have my feelings hurt by a bio-parent. Let me tell you, it wasn't fun. There were a lot of emotions attached to the hurt I felt. 

First I was angry. Fuming, in fact. I wanted to respond with the same kind of stabbing comments like the ones that were directed at me. I wanted to tell this person exactly what I give up on a daily basis in order to take care of HER children. I wanted to tell her that instead of turning my back on her children, we chose to love them through their (horrible!) behaviors and stick with them even when we felt that we couldn't handle them any longer.  But, I didn't. 

I chose to be silent.

The more I thought about her words to me, the more my insecurities began to surface. I felt degraded,
unimportant, and just plain hurt. 

As the day progressed, I asked myself, "why do you care so much?" and my response surprised me. I care because she matters. Her thoughts, feelings matter, too. I care for her. She is the mother of my (foster) children, how can I not care for her? She's just as human as you and me. What makes her any less important or valuable than I am? Nothing. NOTHING makes her any less important or valuable. Every person, no matter what their past or even what their current lifestyle reflects, is just as important and valuable as the next person is. 

I see foster parenting as my ministry. I've always excelled at forming relationships with people. This is great for me, as I am able to bond much quicker with children.  It is also great because I am very understanding, and I care deeply about the people that are in my life, so I am able to care for bio-parents during this process. I see the bio-parents not for their mistakes in life (cause Lord knows we all screw up!), but for who they could be. 

Maybe the words spoken to me were truly meant to hurt me, or maybe they came from a deeper, darker place where she is hurting and they came out of fears of her own. Either way, I can't respond to her words with hate or revenge for the pain she caused me. In fact, I must do the opposite. I must show her love. Even when I'm hurting, and even when it's hard, I must always show her grace and understanding.

By extending her grace, I am showing her a glimpse of what Christ does for us on a daily basis. Christ extends His grace to us even when we do not deserve it...even when we have failed Him over and over again. 

After all, His love (and grace) never never gives never runs out on me.


  1. I always feel that getting along with others is my strongsuit. I use it at work every day with patients and their families, and it's very rare that they don't like me. I formed such a great relationship with my first foster kid's parents and helped get him home sooner. I know that any comments from them that were negative would've killed me!

  2. I do not have a positive relationship with the mother or grandmother of the kids I have now. I'm sure if I adopted your attitude it might make a difference, but I haven't gotten there yet.... I applaud your ability to still care for the families even when they hurt you. I'm just looking forward to getting these people out of my life..... :/


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