In response to my post yesterday, Adrian said:
I think that’s a legit comment though. I think that’s why I’ve never looked into Foster Parenting. If I loved them enough to be a good foster parent to them, it would be a huge emotional wrench when you had to give them back, especially if you weren’t giving them back into an ideal situation. One of my friends went through this and I felt so bad for her. The mother was still not in a good position to be a responsible parent, but they gave the little girl back to her and it was so sad to see her go from a stable home where she was loved and cared for to a home where she was being neglected again.
I think they need to make permanent adoption easier to free up more temporary spots for children who truly only need a placement for a few months during a family crisis. The whole system needs a lot of work.
First I want to thank Adrian for making some very valid points. It is true that giving the children back to imperfect situations is painful. I have a feeling that we will face this when it’s time for Simeon to return home. We have invested a lot in him already and know that we have quite a few months to invest yet. Unless nothing short of a miracle occurs I know that the home Simeon returns to will be less loving, less comforting and less safe than the home he is in now (mine). I know that his mother, because of her own issues, will continue making poor choices and Simeon will probably face of future of pain, frustration and unfulfillment. This is the heart breaking, gut wrenching, fear inducing, truth. Ever morning that he snuggles in my lap, I know that there will come a day in the relatively near future that I will not hold him any more. There will be a day when I wake up wondering whether or not he is safe, warm, loved, fed or bathed. But that awful truth is exactly why Leo and I have made the committment to this child, and any others that enter our home.
To say that giving him back will be wrenching is the understatement of the century. I know. I’ve done it once already. I plan to do it again. But, if I became a foster parent to fulfill my needs for love and warmth and happiness, I would be in it for the wrong reasons. Opening our home to these children is not always about us, or how we feel. These kids need homes. Homes in which they can reside while their parents get help, or make changes, or don’t. True, we are not saving them from a life of bad fortune, but we’re giving them a break if nothing else. When they go back to their homes, they can know that someone in the world loves them and knows them and prays for them. That is why we do this. If I wanted warm fuzzy feelings all the time, with a guarantee of no heart-break, I would get a parrot. One that I am certain will out live me.
It’s true the system needs work. But that’s clearly from someone speaking outside the system. It’s easy to say we should just let these kids be adopted out, but you wouldn’t say that if you had seen Reuben’s mother a few weeks after coming off of meth. Sure she made mistakes and she is bound to make many more. She still loves her child. It’s easy to sit on this side of the television screen or newspaper article and say that she doesn’t deserve her child, but if you’re a mother or have ever mothered then you should know that making poor choices is a problem we all have, and losing your child may be the very worst consequence imaginable. Even Simeon’s mother, looney as she is, loves him. And as much as it hurts me to see it sometimes, he loves her. I just walked into his room a few minutes ago to find her picture on the pillow next to him while he’s napping. That’s his mom. I’m temporary. It doesn’t feel good, but it’s right, the way it should be, the way it was meant to be.
How unfair would it be to leave Simeon in the home he was in because I didn’t want to feel like the temporary mommy? Besides, I know of someone who loved me enough to make unimaginable sacrifices. And from a very young age I made poor choices and broke his heart. I have pledged my allegiance to other people and other things year after year. I continue to hurt him. I continue to end up in bad situations, hurting myself and feeling unloved. But then, I remember that he sacrificed his own warm fuzzy feelings for me. I remember that he was willing to take on a lot of pain so that I could have safety and warmth and love, should I be willing to accept it. If someone was willing to do that for me, how cruel would I be to deny even the tiniest bit of that love to another?
I challenge you. Any of you who read this post, to really do your research. Really think about your children and how close you’ve come to making some seriously bad choices (I’m sure a few simple decisions could have changed the path for most of us) and what would have been at stake. I’m not saying everyone should be a foster parent, but don’t pretend you’re thinking about what’s best for the children in the system when you decide not to.