I’ve been a foster mom four months today.
Who knew that this unexpected journey of foster care would be one of hope and healing for me?
Each foster placement is different, and our very next one may require me to dig deep into every bit of therapeutic parenting I know, but that isn’t the case right now.
Our adoption experience brought me to my knees in desperation every day. The depth of trauma my children experienced before coming to me was profound. PTSD, Reactive Attachment Disorder, and many other diagnoses, flooded our home with trauma, pulling us down into depths we could not have anticipated, leaving us broken.
We’re working through it still – and grief is piled on top like a sodden wool blanket.
[Remember – I said this was a very personal post? I meant it.]
Russ and I were shaken to our core. Our souls wounded, our marriage hollowed out. Now we’re healing, loving, holding on to each other, praying.
We’re rebuilding our family, figuring out how to move through our days and weeks . Asking each other what we want this life to look like.
We’re saying no to most opportunities, and yes to a few.
We thought foster care would be in our future some day, when we felt strong and whole again.
Then Zoe came – when we least expected her.
We said we would never take a child older than Wogauyu – we disrupted birth order – twice – and said we would never do it again.
Our children had been through enough trauma.
Some day, maybe when the boys were in middle school, we would foster young children, little ones, children who couldn’t hurt them.
In fact, we were never going to let anyone hurt them again.
But Zoe came to stay for only one night, and that was fine. Then for the weekend, and that was fine too.
A social worker asked if she could stay for two weeks – there was no place else.
Zoe was different. We felt comfortable – we had peace. We said, “Yes.”
With lots of prayer, discussion, moving rooms around, conversation with big kids – even the ones not living at home, those two weeks became a foster placement, and four months later, Zoe is still here. We expect she’ll be with us until she returns home.
Before adoption, I believed I was a good mom.
My confidence was shaken as I was challenged to become a PhD level psychologist/therapeutic parent overnight with the addition of traumatized children to our family.
I assumed foster care would require the same of me. Zoe has shown me that is not always the case.
Sometimes basic, good parenting skills may be enough, and you know what? I’ve got those.
Teaching a teenager basic life skills – cooking, studying, chores, calling when you’re going to be late, faith, – it’s good stuff.
Like I laughingly said to one of the case workers, Zoe may have ruined us for foster care.
It’s a joy having her in our family. She is blessing us as much as we are blessing her.
Being a foster mom is restoring some of my confidence in myself – I’m a pretty darn good mom after all.
*Zoe is the name our foster daughter chose to use on Thankful Moms. It is not her real name.