My wife and I appreciate the many praises we receive for being foster parents. People call us guardian angels of the two children we fostered. People say we’re amazing for doing what we do. They say they don’t know how we do it and we must have special hearts. They say we made an incredible difference in the souls of these children. The praises mean a lot to us especially during the trying times of this experience. But other foster parents amaze us and you would be too if you hear what we hear.
We hear from foster parents who have fostered 8, 25 or 44 children, and they adopted from 1 to 8 of them. We read about the horror stories, the tragedies and the heartbreaks that other foster parents go through, whether it’s returning a child to the biological parent after raising the child for 3 years or dealing with the anger issues and reattachment disorders of older children. We read about the wisdom and intuition foster parents exercised that made a difference in a child’s life or development. We read the heartbreaking outcome of some cases and there’s nothing a foster parent can do about it, but they accept it and go on to love the next child. We read about hateful criticisms foster parents of multiple children receive from ignorant strangers, who prejudge in error the situation of the foster family, and the humility the foster parents show in response. We are amazed by the perseverance of foster parents who fight for the well-being of their foster child while facing ongoing ordeals with the system. We are astonished – puzzled even – by the inhumanly enduring love of foster parents who don’t give up on their foster child even when the case stretches for years. Where my wife and I have whined and moaned over some of our experiences, we are silenced by the trials and display of character by other foster parents. Their stories grant me a healthy perspective of my own.
So, to my fellow foster parents out there who have strived, struggled, endured, triumphed, been broken, cried, and loved, you inspire me as a foster father. You remind me of the incredible good that can be found in this world, which the Bible claims as evidences of God’s grace in a broken world. You are evidences of God’s grace. As a foster parent, I share a glimpse of what you experience – the joys and the pains – but I know that there is a realm of challenges you have weathered that I cannot fathom. Thank you for sharing your stories of redemption, for being heroes to the helpless, and for giving a measure of goodness out of your extraordinary spirits to make our world a better place. What I find amidst all the praises my wife and I receive is that we are humbly in the company of amazing foster parents. You are silent heroes of society who don’t get the spotlight, cheering crowds, or wealth for doing what you do. Most will never see all of your tears or know all the details of your fostering struggles. Yet day-by-day you’re saving someone. And at the end of the day, I know you wouldn’t even think of yourselves as heroes. Well, to that child you’re parenting, you are his/her hero. I salute you and I thank God that there are people like you in this world.