Love in Foster Care
When I sat down to write about being a foster parent and the topic of love, I really struggled. At first, I thought that it would be simple; I obviously love the kids that we’ve gotten to know through this adventure. The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that there was so much more to say. I want to share the aspect of love that surprised me the most during our time as foster parents and beyond.
I always imagined that it would be difficult to get to know and work with the biological families as they progress through their cases. Imagining these people that I’d never met, knowing that I would be helping their children after difficult and trying times, sometimes at the hands of the very people we’d be working with, honestly frightened me. I wasn’t sure what type of relationships to expect, but love didn’t really cross my mind. My husband and I began this journey almost five years ago and none of the relationships we’ve encountered have been anything like what I originally thought. These families that we worked with were people just trying to do better, be better for the most important people in their lives. They were overcoming obstacles, fighting battles, and jumping through hoops trying to put their families back together. We were met with kindness, a willingness to work together, and a common goal of what was best for the children. I had already fallen in love with the kids, now I began to fall in love with their families.
During our most difficult case, the parent didn’t speak to us for the two years that the case lasted. On Easter last year, they reached out to me and we began occasionally messaging back and forth. Slowly, we began sharing more details about our lives and then pictures and videos. We began to build a connection and trust between us. I work at their pace, no expectations or demands for more, and they meet me as they can. This has allowed a connection to extended family and those relationships have made great strides. I am so happy to have this foundation to continue building on. The love for people I haven’t actually met, the empathy for their situation, and the understanding that everyone is doing the best they can, is amazing.
The love that foster care has brought into my life has changed me for the better. Each child that has passed through our home has a special place in my heart, as do their families. Opening my heart to love has challenged me, helped me grow into a better individual, and provided the type of example I want to set for my son.
-Sarah McBride, foster & adoptive mom