Why I Foster…

FORGIVENESS
I just put another Hall’s cough drop in, and I noticed how red my lips were, and I had a flashback.
I was eleven years old and I just sat down at the dinner table. She looked at me and asked, “Are you wearing lipstick?” I told her I wasn’t and I even took the back of my hand and repeatedly wiped my mouth. I showed her my hand thinking she would be happy I wasn’t wearing lipstick, but instead, she was mad because my lips were that color. From that moment on I knew, I knew not to look pretty.
I knew she disliked me from the moment she laid eyes on me. I knew she hated the fact that I was his baby girl. She threatened me for years. Took things from me when I did nothing to deserve it. She wanted me dead. How do I know this? She told me numerous times growing up.
For years I wondered what I did. How did I make this woman so mad at me? Why did she hate me? For years I lived with these unanswered questions.
Then one day I overheard someone talking about foster care and how she grew up in horrible homes. Her mother was put in a psychiatric ward for drinking bleach. Her father abandoned her and her five siblings. They were split into different foster homes and hers were not the good ones. She lived through the unimaginable. Unimaginable things that many of my foster daughters have lived through.
It took me years to forgive, to understand…she was mad at me, jealous of me and the life I had. She never had that life.
She deserved an amazing life. All kids deserve an amazing life.
Twenty seven years later…
My dad brought her to my house last November. It was a few days after Halloween. I had three little foster daughters at the time. I’ve never seen her face light up like it did that day.
Hours after they left I received a phone call from her. “I wish I grew up in a foster home like yours when I was a little girl. You are doing a really good job.” she said. At first I was speechless and the first thing that came to my mind was foster care statistics. Yes, I started spouting off statistics to her.
Last year was the first Christmas I was able to go to their house without feeling anxious or upset. My stepmom hugged me and I mean she really hugged me. It was like a weight was lifted, a huge weight.
I’m sharing this today because forgiveness is an amazing thing. It sets you free…
#Forgiveness #FosterCare

Opportunities…

I have an opportunity to take Chelsea, my foster daughter, to a movie premiere.
When I get an opportunity to take one of my foster children somewhere, I do it. I want them to have the same opportunities I give to my son.
Some have never been to a movie or swam in an indoor pool. None of them saw or heard live music until I took them.
Some came to me not knowing where their next meal was coming from. Taking them out to a restaurant, for the first time, was amazing. You forget those experiences until you see it through their eyes. Some didn’t have running water. Some lived in a shelter.
I’ve had acquaintances, even friends, tell me not to spoil them. They say they won’t get those same opportunities when they leave.
And my response…And that is why giving them these experiences, these opportunities, is even more important. I want them to learn…to grow…to experience life to the fullest. And when they go, if they go, they can look back and say I want to do that again. I want that experience. I want that opportunity and they are going to make it happen.

What They Come With

My first two foster daughters arrived with only the clothes on their backs. Why? Because their own mother refused to let them bring any belongings.
My third foster daughter came with a garbage bag. A garbage bag full of clothes that didn’t even fit. Her last foster home claimed they couldn’t find any of her belongings. She lived with them for nine months. NINE MONTHS!!! She celebrated her 5th Birthday with them. She celebrated Christmas with them but not one toy came with her.
One foster daughter arrived with a garbage bag full of, well, garbage…
If you have an extra suitcase, duffle bag or even a backpack, please consider donating it to your local foster care agency.
I can’t express to you enough how important it is for these kids to have something…something they can call their own. No child should have to put their belongings in a garbage bag. It makes them feel like the trash these bags carry.

Acceptance

Acceptance
To love someone you must accept them and everything about them. Nothing has taught me this more than fostering. Each child that has walked, or been carried, through my door is unique and came from very different walks of life.
I have fostered eight children in the short time I have been fostering and each child brings different challenges. I have accepted those challenges as I would if my own child came with them. They are my children, it may be for a very short time, but they are mine.
I have to accept that they will leave my home. They may go back into the same situation or into a new adoptive home. It’s hard, harder than you can imagine but I do this to help them, to make a difference.
When Baby A left and I was preparing to receive Big J and Baby JJ, a dear friend messaged me and asked if I was ready to take on two more so soon. My response, “Yes, you see Baby A leaving has opened up space in my home so I can help them.”
All young people need the love and unconditional acceptance and no one needs this more than foster children…my foster children.
Bobbie Reynolds

Loving and Letting Go

Almost daily I hear: “I could never be a foster mom because I would get too attached and I couldn’t let them go.” Or I’m asked: “How do you let them go?” Honestly, I don’t…I don’t let them go. They will always be a part of me.
I’ve always looked to this quote: “I am not afraid to grieve. I am afraid of what would happen to these children if no one took the risk to love them.”