The most common question I am asked about foster care is, how can you do it? How can you care for and love a child and then “give them back?”
Firstly, let me say that so far, I’ve not had a child that stayed more than two months. I am certain that time will come and that when it does, saying good-bye will be that much more challenging.
Yet I think that even then, my answer will be the same. We can do it because we know it is essential. We are making a difference in the life of a child and that life is worth everything. It does not matter that the child comes to us as a stranger; they leave as beloved. While they are here they are getting “good medicine.” They are part of a family, they are loved simply because they are. They belong. These are things that all children need, and especially traumatized ones.
We decided to provide foster care because of one little girl we’ll call Ginny. When we met her, she was not yet three. Friends of ours were fostering her and she bounced back and forth between her dad and foster care a few times. I kept reassuring my friend that no matter what happened in Ginny’s future, no one could ever take away the love they had shared with her. She had some behaviors that were a response to her chaotic home life but the frightened child who needed love and patience was easy to see in her eyes. We were compelled.
I often get questions about kids we’ve had in our care. Even though we may not get to see these kids again or to hear about them, I can tell you we never forget them. They are emblazoned on our hearts. We want and hope for the best for them and feel exceedingly blessed when someone takes the time to share some news about a child. Although the good-byes are hard, they are worth it when you know you are making a lifelong difference.