The emotional rundown from a first-time foster parent
We decided to become foster parents because we knew there were kids needing homes and families needing support. We did not become foster parents because we were seeking heartbreak, looking to struggle with intense trauma, or become more wholly aware of generational challenges. But, here we are. We’re here because we feel called, we know it’s needed, and dammit, we signed up for this.
So how does reunification actually feel? It's as painful as people assume and more revealing of God's blessings than you'd ever guess.
It's basically a rollercoaster of every emotion ever.
Here's my list of all the feels...
Elation: How lucky are we to see redemption in this family?!
Joy: You can’t not beam when you see a parent so happy after the judge ruled he’s going home. Such relief. Such pride.
Pain: I want to throw up when I see the date circled on our calendar. We’re taking him home that day. Not back to our house.
Anguish: How could the state miss that detail? How could that not be concerning to professionals involved?
Irritation: Are you seriously asking me this question AGAIN? Did I not lay it out for you a million times?
Intense Anger: Step. It. Up. Act like you want it!
Annoyance: Ugh. I couldn't get a foster care license if (insert anything about a house) was like this.
Sorrow: You're not noticing this concerning thing because you weren't raised to. You don't know any different because you weren't protected either.
Worry: Did he eat? How did he sleep? Is he shutting down? Is he stuttering because he’s nervous?
Peace: We were not called to be saviors. We were called to be a part of a bigger story. It is out of our control.
Hope: We want to be here for all of you and are so grateful that you are considering our involvement in your lives. Let us be your community!
Pride: Despite the pain and frustration, I’m proud of our family (extended too!) for taking this leap in big love for others.
Contentment: We were not called to be social workers, perfect parents, perfect people, or the end-all-be-all. We were called to foster love for whatever time. We’ve done our job well.
There’s nothing easy about this journey and it doesn’t look or feel at all like we thought it could or would. But that doesn’t mean it was a waste. The time we have fostered this beautiful boy was exactly what we were called to do and we would do it all over again if we could.
If you've fostered and then reunified a child, what resonates most with you?