Warning: I didn't edit this post. I didn't want to over think it. I wanted to write from the heart. This truly is letter for them or anyone considering fostering.
Dear Foster Kids who I probably will never see again,
A new person in my life asked me what it was like to be a foster mom. While my normal response would usually include a cliche story about the joy of having a full house, deep conversation with kids that grew up to fast or the joy and lessons all of you have brought to my life this time it was different. I didn't respond that way.
Instead, I was sincere. I talked about how hard it was. For the first time ever I really explained how hard being a foster parent really is. It isn't that most of what I have written before isn't sincere. It is, almost 10 years later, and I am still processing each lesson I learned as the door and my heart swung open each time during that part of my life.
Now, I have a 20/20 perspective on being a foster parent, resource parent was title back then. Just a resource, my heart was just a resource. In hind sight you see so much more of how that can exhaust your body, used your time, and what your focus was on. I didn't realize that when I signed up to be a foster parent it is like the Marines. You will always be one, a resource parent. I figure it was how I gave to my community at that time of my life. I gave by taking care of you. I loved having you in my home.
Even if the children are long gone, you all stay with me in some way. I never know what tense to use when talking about my time with you. I was your foster mom? That doesn't sound right. I am a foster mom means my house is open now so that is not correct. What do you call a foster mom that retired from fostering? Even today, even as you are gone, You still teach me and remind me about perspective, thankfulness, the evil that is out there in this world, and also how to trust in God that you are ok.
I will always say that being a foster mom was one of the jobs I hated to love so very much. I did love it a lot. It was a happy home when you were here. You all kept us smiling because we had to be strong for you. It was our job to smile. Each and every one of you, dear children, that lived in our house was an honor to host. I love being a mom. I really do. I am blessed with 3 birth children now.
You probably haven't met two of those children.
Motherhood is something I will never take for granted. I think you all taught me that.
My house was a door that was revolving for 3 years and over 20 kids were/are part of my heart. You have left my house, but you will never leave my home. You probably don't even know that you are part of the DNA that makes up our family.
I still remember your names. I handled the goodbyes well in the moment. I became distracted with other things after the goodbyes. I poured myself into being thankful for the consistent child in my life and my husband. But when one of you arrived again, I worked hard making sure you were hugged if you wanted to be hugged, you were taught how to brush your teeth if you needed to, and reminded you to always keep your shoes tied. I made sure you knew what love was.
I went and learned how to braid hair so I knew how to treat hair that was different than mine. I worked with kids that had probably experienced more horror then I ever could imagine, in fact, I can't or won't try to imagine. I gave hugs, a lot. I changed diapers, a lot. I woke up in the middle of the night because of night terrors, a lot. You all taught me so very much and I will never forget you.
Some of you won't even remember I was there at all. I hope you will never forget what it felt like to be a princess or a prince at our castle even if you don't remember me. Your foster brother loved you deeply at the age of 3. Your foster father worked a lot and rarely got to say goodbye to you but he supported me, which empowered me to support you.
Thank you babies that are probably nearing the age of 12 or more. You may not remember us but we remember you. I think what I meant to say the other day when I was asked about being a foster mom was "I miss them." I know I am not suppose to miss you but I do, a lot.
I miss you so very much. I am still praying for you even though it has been around 10 years since we have said goodbye, for probably forever, to you. Even the difficult ones,some of you were a challenge and stretched me, are missed. I pray for all of you and the people in your life. I pray for the life you are living. I pray for your safety. I pray for your past. I pray for those you chose to date and that they realize you are a blessing to be around. I pray for you future. I pray colleges to grant you acceptance and appreciate the journey in life you have been through can make you stronger in life because I know all of you even at 3 days old were strong.
I hope through it all, you know this, I love you.
Loved you then, Still, and Always,
P.S. You may not remember me but I miss you very much. You will always have a piece of my heart. We weren't your forever home but you will be forever in my heart.