Anyone who’s ever watched science fiction knows the fateful line the real Spock gave at the end of “The Wrath of Kahn”,
“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”
It’s a good motto to live by. Police, fire and ems departments, our military, and most of our general labors wouldn’t do what they do for us if they didn’t believe this idea on some level.
But foster care is different. We have to focus on the needs of a few, and sometimes just one or we quickly become overwhelmed.
Our kids, those we’ve welcomed into our homes with open arms and a vulnerable heart, come from places we simply cannot imagine. They’ve been raped, beaten, forgotten, left dirty and hungry. They have seen things which are illegal in most states, done things many adults are unsure of even attempting, and felt fear no human should know.
They cannot be second to anything except God Himself if they are going to heal and begin to grow. The minute we say yes to having them in our lives we moved ourselves down on the list and placed them in front of us.
And this is the part that gets tricky. As humans, we are selfish. We long to be important, to be the first in line for most things, to have our work acknowledged. As foster parents though, many of those thing will never be true in our lives again.
Fostering is a thankless job! The parents of the children don’t care for what your doing, the system is too overwhelmed to care as long as the children are safe and cared for, and many placing agencies simply don’t have the resources to do anymore than help you make sure your kids are being treated and nourished but physically and mentally. While the latter two generally do appreciate what you are doing, they simply can’t always show it in the way they would truly like to.
Fostering is a job. I am lucky enough to be in a position to take that literally and do spend most of my time day and night caring for my foster babies. I love that God has allowed me to do this, but I know many foster families simply can’t afford to do the same so in effect they, like most parents, are working full-time inside AND outside the home. Unlike most parents though, foster parents often spend more nights comforting children woken from night terrors and more days with court dates, cps and casa visits, agency trainings and visits and countless other appointments, therapies, and visits around trying to give their kids as normal life as they can. When you step up to foster any child, you are either really well organized or you will become really well organized very quickly.
And it’s quite literally hell…
…until you hear that nonverbal child start talking. You see the girl who wasn’t supposed to be more than a vegetable start winning at most of the childhood sports. You hear the child who can’t stop talking about home call you dad for the first time. You see a child realize that there’s more to life than pain, suffering, and trauma.
Each day I wake up reminding myself that I’m working with these amazing kids for their own good. Each night I pray that somehow I’ve been able to bring a new detonation of both normal and hope into their hearts.
Each day I, and I hope every other foster parent that reads this, look out into the world and say, “I don’t care about your problems, I don’t have time to save the world. I care about my child (children) and today I’m working to save their world(s).”