Some people have asked me about why this blog is called “The Beautiful Opportunity.” After all foster care has been called many things, but beautiful is usually not the word that pops to mind. Hard work, heart breaking, worthwhile, exhausting, a blessing… these are adjectives people frequently use to describe being a foster parent.
So why a beautiful opportunity? It signifies a mind set that there is a wonderful upside to all situations and was taught to me by a fabulous attachment therapist.
I’ll call the attachment therapist Hippie Chick, as she had that mother earth vibe going. She used to use the phrase “this is a beautiful opportunity to…[fill in the blank].”
For example, nine year old child exhibits anorexia, refusing to eat and losing weight. My reaction? ACCK!!! WHAT THE HECK!! HOW AM I TO GET HER TO EAT???!! Hippie Chick says “Girl’s refusal to eat is a wonderful opportunity to recognize that the girl is trying to exercise control over her body when her life seems to be spinning out of her control, and as a parent, you can start finding ways to give her more control over parts of her life, like letting her help plan her birthday party. How wonderful that girl is giving you signals about her needs and that you have the chance to fulfill those needs.”
So “the beautiful opportunity” philosophy is about joy and happiness. It’s about looking at life’s difficulties through a different lens, and seeing the goodness that exists and the potential to make life even better.
As I write about foster care and adopting out of foster care, my goal is to show the world the positives. Too often people focus on the tragedies – abuse, neglect, trauma – and not on the upside – the opportunity for birth parents to get their lives back on track, the opportunity for families to heal and reunite, the opportunity for a foster family to make a difference in the lives of others while having their lives transformed, and, if reunification isn’t possible, the opportunity for a child to find a new family through adoption. There’s a heck of a lot to inspire us, to lift us up, and to celebrate.
I hope you will join me in finding foster care’s beautiful opportunities.