My precious J’s,
You might remember a time when we opened our home to other foster kids. I don’t know if, when you read this, we will still be fostering. I hope so, but only time will tell.
A few months after we received you into our family, we had to start preparing to get our foster care license (Every foster family’s journey looks a little different. Sometimes it is required that the foster family have their license before receiving a child. But because we knew of you as friends of friends, we were an exception called “suitable others.”). As we attended classes and trainings our world was shook by the information of just how many kids there are in foster care and how the number of willing and able foster care homes available falls short of that number. That every night dozens of kids are displaced to sleep in offices or hotels under the supervision of social workers. Your Dad and I started to think that although our purpose is to be your forever parents, maybe we were also put here to provide a safe temporary home to other kids that may be on the path to reunification with their birth families. To help them heal, to be in a safe home, to experience the joys of family vacations, dinner together around the table, homework time, movie nights, bike rides, etc… Or perhaps to help a teen transition into the next phase of their life and gain independence with a little support. To be their cheerleader and remind them that they are worthy of and able to achieve any dream.
When a child is taken into protective custody, it is a traumatic experience. They did absolutely nothing to ask for or to deserve what’s happening to them. They may have witnessed a crime, or experienced some form of abuse or neglect. They have been separated from their parent or caretaker, and possibly even their sibling(s). They may end up spending hours in an office while a social worker puts them into the system and tries to find them a willing and able foster home. It is the worst day of their life. Watch ReMoved, a powerful short film which follows a girl through the foster care system, starting with being taken into protective custody.
We have had the tremendous honor of being a safe landing pad for handfuls of kids taken into protective custody over the past six months. You both have been so amazing with sharing your parents, your puppies, your home and your toys with these kids as they transition to safety. And our therapist has held your hands and mine every step to process and to gain new skills as we make room in our hearts and home for these kids. You are deeply generous and have the most sincere hearts. I am so lucky and proud to be your Mom.
My wish for you throughout this journey on which our family has embarked, is that you find grace, not perfection. To know that you are worthy. You are enough. That you don’t have to chase Pinterest perfect anything. That your past doesn’t define you, that you don’t need to “try to measure up” to anything. That the good life is real, raw, slow, and rich with flaws. Take risks and know that we will be here to catch you.
You are loved more than you will ever know, my sweet boys.