Becoming Foster Parents
To all the sweet children who will be sharing our home,
I know our time together may be short. For you, it may just seem like one of a dozen stops on an unpredictable, undesired journey. I know our home will probably not be what you had in mind. It probably won’t be what your aching heart desires. You might have a family out there that longs for you as much as you long for them. Or you may feel completely alone in this big, scary world.
You may be angry. You may feel as though you’ve never experienced anything good in this world. Life has likely been unfair to you, and maybe the world has been unkind. We may never be able to comprehend or imagine the kind of things you’ve seen in the short time you’ve been alive.
You might not trust us, and we don’t blame you. You may question our intentions and doubt that we have your best interest in mind. We may have to work to earn your trust, and we’re okay with that. If your trust is something that must be earned, then it’s something we will work to attain. We will strive to make you feel safe. We will work to give you the kind of security you’ve always deserved.
We aren’t expecting for this process to come without hardship or trials. We aren’t expecting for it to come easy. We aren’t expecting to not make mistakes, or to always know the right things to do or say. We are expecting for you to come with heartache, to come with sadness, grief, and pain. We are expecting to see both good and bad days, and we are expecting to experience our own heartache as we help you through your own.
We’ve had our own moments of struggle as we pursued this process. These last months have been filled with hours of deep soul-searching, with many moments of tears, with conversations of doubt and worry that we would never be good enough, with preparing and dreaming, with ups and downs. We’ve been tested and tried. We’ve wondered and waited and worried. Yet somehow, we’ve made it here, on the other side.
Though we’ve had our moments of doubt and fear, though we’ve wrestled with feelings of inadequacy and worried that we would not be ready, that maybe we were too young or too inexperienced, or maybe we didn’t have the right kind of house or we didn’t have enough space, that maybe we weren’t organized enough or prepared enough—we are here. We’ve made it. And now, we are waiting for you.
We may not be the kind of parents you hoped for. We may not be the ones who are meant to keep you forever. We may be a little young or a little quirky, a little disorganized and a little forgetful. We may have you for just a few short days. We may have you for much longer than we’d originally anticipated. You may not ever think of us as parents. We may be the closest thing to parents that you ever get to experience.
I was once afraid of this process. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be strong enough. I was afraid I wouldn’t have what it takes to love you in the ways that you need and deserve. I was afraid that I wouldn’t have what it takes to help you through this journey. I was afraid that I would love you too much, afraid that I would want you forever and that I couldn’t bear the heartache that would come with having to say goodbye.
But I realize now that this process is not about me. It’s not about us. It is about you, and it is for you. It’s for you to be able to feel safe and secure, no matter how short the time is that we have you. It’s for you to be able to see that there are people who are still good in this world, people who are ready to give you all the love and attention and kindness you deserve. It’s for you to be helped along on your journey to healing. It’s for you to find light in a world of darkness, for you to experience love, laughter, friendship, and family, for you to be cared for, for you to find rest.
We are here to be what you need us to be. If you need us to be love, we will be that for you. If you need us to be kindness and compassion, we will be that for you. If you need us to be understanding and patient, we will be that for you. If you need us to be rest and safety, we will be that for you. If you need us to be parents, we will be that for you.
I know we haven’t become parents conventionally, but from the moment we were approved to take you into our home, our hearts have been ready to be parents. We may only be parents for the time you are in our home. That time may be shorter than any of us want. But we will do our best to be our best, to be the kind of parents that you deserve, whether that time is a day, a year, or a lifetime. The time we have you won’t effect our desire to love you, or our desire to be the kind of parents we’ve always strived to someday be, the kind of parents that every child deserves. We won’t look at it as a negative thing that we may not be able to parent you for long. We will cherish the fact that we will have gotten to parent you at all.
Always remember that you are special. You are beautiful. You are loved. Always remember that you deserve the world. That if you work hard, you can be anything you want to be. Always remember that there is still good in this world. That there is beauty in all things, even if it takes a bit of searching to find it. Always remember that you are light, and that you brought light to us, even in the midst of darkness, even in spite of the circumstances of which we met, even if we only had you for a short time. We have prayed for you. We have loved you. We cared for you even before we met.
We were given a beautiful gift from God, a gift in the form of you. We have been given the capacity to love you, we have been given the means to keep you for however long you need to be kept. We have been given the opportunity to have you with us, and we have been praying for this opportunity for so long. We are ready to take it with open arms and hearts.
So with open arms and hearts, we will wait for you. With open arms and hearts, we will accept you. With open arms and hearts, we will keep you. For as long as we can, as best as we can, with as much love as we can.
Your Foster Parents
“It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
–1 Corinthians 13:7-8a