I could write post after post about our fostering experiences. Each day is rich with its own lessons, joys, struggles, highs, lows and golden moments. Today, I will share some reading literature that I have come across pertaining to this journey.
I have found that in the midst of fostering children, it is helpful to read books about fostering. Recently, I have read a book by Kathy Harrison called Another Place at the Table and a memoir titled Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter, a former foster child. Currently, I am reading a book by Cathy Glass, a foster parent for over twenty years, entitled Damaged. It is (as the front cover reads) the heartbreaking true story of a forgotten child. Cathy writes about her fostering experiences, especially those with Jodie.
Here is an excerpt from the second chapter that is about her take on fostering:
Fostering, I discovered, is by no means easy. If a carer goes into it expecting to take in a little Orphan Annie, or an Anne of Green Gables, then he or she is in for a nasty shock. The sweet, mop-headed child who has had a little bad luck and only needs a bit of love and affection to thrive and blossom and spread happiness in the world doesn’t exist. Foster children don’t come into your home wide-eyed and smiling. They tend to be withdrawn because of what has happened to them and will often be distant, angry and hard to reach, which is hardly surprising. In worse cases, they can be verbally or even physically aggressive and violent. The only constant factor is that each one is different, and that they need attention and kindness to get through their unhappiness. It is never an easy ride.
Later she writes….
I’d found something I had a talent for, and that was extremely rewarding and I wanted to carry on, even while I had my own children. I found that the difference I made to my foster children’s lives, even if it was a small one, stayed with me. It was not that I was the most selfless being since Mother Teresa, or that I was particularly saintly. I believe that we do these things for our own ends, and mine was the satisfaction I got from the whole process of making things better for children who needed help.
For more fostering books check out a previous blog post.