Last week, I learned more about the pain that our foster child has experienced in her short life. She has endured suffering no one should. As I process what this tiny little girl has withstood, I am saddened greatly. I still can’t quite wrap my mind around it. This changes my views regarding her case.
Recently, when I walked in to the visitation room and handed this precious girl over to her birth mother for the next hour (this is something that DSS sets up and is part of the mother’s rights), I felt satisfied. The mother embraced her child, reaching for her with outstretched arms. At this time this seemed right.
But now a shift has occurred. As much as I have coached myself, as a foster parent, to focus on this child’s reunification with her family, and to know my role in that . . . I am not there anymore. Now, I want to fight for her. I want to protect her. I want her to be one of us.
I struggle with the heaviness of child abuse. I look into her eyes and fear all that she has seen and felt. I marvel at her resilience. I am amazed by her strength. She makes me want to be a stronger person.
As I hold her, I think of the suffering that occurs daily in the lives of children all over this world. It is extremely difficult to fathom. I think of the countless innocent children, victims of abuse, that must live through it and carry it with them the rest of their lives, and I shutter. It is so unfair.
I want to believe that the suffering our little foster child went through is not real, that she is an imaginary victim in a fiction story or movie that I would never see or know. This shining little girl couldn’t have had to live such turmoil and pain. But she did. Turning a blind eye to this devastating reality is only a disservice to the children that experience injustices through abuse and neglect. My eyes are now wide with awareness.
I wish I could do more. Calls come in daily to our Department of Social Services regarding children of all ages that need to be removed from their homes because of abuse and/or neglect. These children need a safe haven full of love, acceptance, and hope.
Fostering a child is truly a gift and a privilege. It has brought out the best in each member of our family. Sure, fostering is not without challenges and messiness. There are sacrifices that need to be made. And yes, there is an adjustment period. But the children are worth it. Someone has to do it.
Too many children need foster families.