I think that one of the most amazing people I have ever had the privilege of watching was a foster mother who intentionally opened her life to foster teens in her area. I have never seen a woman so willing to deal with the issues and baggage that a teen brings home in order to change a life. This woman used to tell me that her goal was to ensure that the teenagers in her care were given the opportunities that they needed for success. She not only made sure that they got the services that they needed, she also sat with them and made sure that their fully understood their responsibilities. This was good for the teens in her care because it put some of the work back on their shoulders. It is not good enough to make sure that the school system is offering everything that you could want or need to a foster teen, they must step to the plate and make the most of it.
This same foster mother allowed the teenagers in her care to work toward their driver’s license, buy a car and get a job. These things gave the teens a chance to have the normally that they so strongly crave. She is the only foster mother that I know of in our area who parented with such grace toward the foster teens that she worked with. She once said to me, “You know, these kids have every desire to do what is right. They often did nothing to deserve where they are and if I can offer them a place of normalcy- you can bet I will do it.”
I never saw this backfire for my friend. She helped many teens achieve the success that they deserved. Some went to college, others trade but they all are working and able parts of society now. They had that one person who believed that they could do it and off they went. Isn’t that what fostering is all about? At the end of the day, shouldn’t all foster parents’ desire to say, “I made a kid feel normal and so they decided to make their lives normal.”
What an amazing foster mom. Do you know of any other amazing foster parents that have truly invested themselves in the needs of a child? I would love to hear about it. Please feel free to tell their story. Hopefully, it will bring a little notoriety to an otherwise thankless job.