Dear onlookers and friends,
As you do not (now) judge bio parents, we are asking also that you not judge us – we are the foster parents.
We like the idea of team playing. We’ve done some of it.
We’ve also been badly burned in this saga. We’ve laid our hearts on the line and had them broken repeatedly, and so while it’s all fine to talk about building bridges and everything like that, sometimes we’re just done in. We may not have energy left to play super nice with everybody. We don’t want you thinking that the opinions of some Shari Zook on some blog somewhere are necessarily ours. We may or may not care about the same stuff she does.
The part she said that we connected with the most was about wanting to scream at bio parents sometimes, and make them feel horrible for what they’ve done. If you are not a foster parent, you may be shocked by that statement. Or you may understand it with your mind, but you will not understand it with your heart and soul until you have seen what we’ve seen.
We can’t tell you what we’ve seen, because it would be violating section nine of code-code something-something, but we’ve seen it and we can’t unsee it. Our children carry deep and lasting pain because somebody who was supposed to protect them hurt them. Nothing really prepares you for seeing on a child’s body the marks of violence or neglect, the horrible stains of sins committed by others. Until you have seen it, until you have felt a baby’s losses running hot and salty down your cheeks, you may not understand our fury.
We are committed to redemption whenever possible, but sometimes we come in swinging on behalf of these precious little ones. Their pain is our pain. It’s not that we’re not compassionate people: it’s that sometimes we have spent so much heart on the children that we have none left over for those who hurt them. It’s called compassion fatigue. The heart can only carry so much suffering.
So the next time you hear a foster mom blowing off about her frustration with bio parents, don’t you go thinking “Wow. She does NOT. KNOW. HOW. TO. TEAMPLAY.” Please know that she tries. We try publicly, with them, but privately we sometimes need to let it out with people we trust. That would be you. And it would help if you would hear us, please, and let us yell about it without suggesting that we stop caring so much, stop being so attached. That’s like telling a cook to fix the burning food by stepping into the other room where she can’t smell it.
Just give us a hug and make us a casserole and write a note that says “I believe in what you’re doing.”
Sometimes we love with our anger.
Let us be angry on behalf of those we love. When we are done, we’ll wash our faces and go out again and play for the team. Because that’s what we do.
– The Foster Parents
To my own family and church community, who support me and make me casseroles and let me yell: Thank you so much.