Childrearing

Foster Mom: Opening Our Home To Kids In Need Changed My Family Forever

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What we have discovered is that these kids have never had the things that our kids take for granted: a bed, food, clothes, school and family. A trip to McDonalds is awesome. Going to the beach is mind-boggling. Shoe shopping at Target is incredible. May kids have never had parents that could take care of and provide for them. Others have parents that beat them. Starve them. Sell them to the highest bidder. They don’t know what a ‘normal life’ is like and to us, that’s the very definition of tragedy. A tragedy that we can help to stop and repair.

We have been called saints, angels, wonderful people, and gods among men. Really, we are just people who wanted to help kids and see our family grow, just like most of the other foster families that we know. We wanted to expand our family and we have. Though some aren’t in our house anymore, they will always be our kids. They came to us terrified, broken, unsure of what’s coming next. They are left with strangers, very often with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Their whole world has been ripped apart and all they want is to go home. It’s our job to make them feel safe and loved. That’s all any kid wants; a firm foundation, solid ground on which to stand, and someone who won’t quit.

This experience has made us better parents, better spouses and better friends. It’s made us more conscious of the evils of the world and the sicknesses that are in it and how they can rip families apart. We know things that we had never considered and have heard a lot of things that we hope we never hear again. The one lesson that has stuck out the most for me is the strength of the small people that have been in our home, the power of their spirit, and the determination of their character. These kids are some of the toughest people we have ever met. They’ve survived rape, having their teeth knocked out, being burned with cigarettes, starvation, and neglect. Yet they come out on the other side with a resiliency that cannot described with words. These kids are champions.

People often ask us why we do it. Our answer is always, “Someone has to. Why not us?”

(If you are interested in fostering in your state, please contact your local Department of Children’s Services for more information.)

(Photo: Shutterstock)

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