A Foster Care "Have You Ever...?"

I previously explained that foster care is not "normal" parenting. If you weren't convinced, maybe you should keep reading. 

Have you ever...?

...had your two-year-old look at you and matter-of-factly say, "I want my mommy. You are not my mommy." Have you? I have. He was right, and we both knew it. And then, we continued our day.

...considered that your children have other parents. Parents they love. Parents that love them, too. Have you? I have. As I get to know the boys, I do my best to love them well. Yet, I love them imperfectly. Foster care involves a tangled mess of imperfect, messed up, upside-down love. Be careful, or your heart will get caught in it and tears will flow.

...imagined a day in which you do not know where your children are or if they are safe, and that you have no right to know? Have you? I have. We try so hard to keep them safe and to teach them things that will help them stay safe in the future. But they are so young. We will not be able to keep them safe after they leave our home. Their future is not up to us. We want to be faithful parents today and have to trust God with the results, which I guess is true of "normal" parenting, too.

...met someone who knows your children better than you do? Have you? I have. Our children have been in our home for a matter of weeks. They have been elsewhere for years. These kids are not my kids, but they are.

...had your child traumatized by strangers asking questions like, "What's the deal with their parents?" and "Was it hard for you to get them?" Having the same strangers proceed with stories about why other kids were removed from their homes is fun, too. I'm going to have to work on my interruption skills.

I share these thoughts with you for two reasons. First, writing helps me to process. I can barely begin to describe the mess of thoughts and emotions foster care has brought to me. Taking a nap time to write them down helps me clear my head. Second, foster care is important and unusual. I can count my previous interactions with foster care on one hand. Adoption and foster care are somewhat trendy right now, but few people have seen the tough stuff up close. Painting a rosy picture of either leads to disrupted adoptions and foster situations. Adoption and foster care are difficult and worthwhile, but are different than "normal" parenting.