Saints and Foster Care

People often call foster parents saints. And I’m down with that. Are you?

Peace Corps coined the phrase “the toughest job you’ll ever love.”  Foster care could perhaps be labeled as “the toughest job you’ll ever love-hate-love-hate.”

Let’s face it.  Foster care has many wonderful aspects, but it can be darn tough.  Foster care requires a lot of sacrifices.

Case in point, check out our lives.  We give up our vacation time to sit in courts with our foster children.  We traded away our relaxing afternoons filled with Little League or cheerleading, for countless hours of talking about sexual boundaries, redirecting physical aggression, or correcting anti-social behavior.  We empty out our wallets to cover the many expenses that the State doesn’t pay, so it’s fewer lattes at Starbucks (this, as you know, is a HUGE sacrifice!!).

Do our traumatized children rush over to lavish us with love, thanking us?  Of course, not.  Their biological parents, who are hurting, are not likely to say thanks, either.  We don’t expect them to.  But if random strangers want to express appreciation for our hard work, I say we should take it.

Because at heart, when people call us saints for volunteering to take in abused or neglected children, what they really are saying is thanks for taking on such an incredibly challenging job.

So am I saint?  No.  Not by a long shot.  Probably you’re no saint either (hey, no offense, but it’s a really high bar!!).  But I am grateful for the people who want to fill up my “emotional tank” with their gratitude and appreciation.

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