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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Focus on Fostering: "You chose this"

Last Wednesday on "Soapbox" I told about a different perspective on life situations.  Not labeling things as simply Have to do [the things we dread, avoid, and hate doing] vs Want to do [the things we love, choose, and do happily.  Adding a category of Choose to do [though not wanted].  This made me think of foster parenting and I promised I would explain that today even though it isn't soapbox day.  I suspect my experience is not terribly different than many of you foster parenting challenging children.

I sometimes feel like those around me think I have no right to complain or sigh or moan.  Too often I hear the comment that I didn't Have to do this. They assume that choosing to do something means we Want to do it.  Particularly for those doing kinship care nothing could be farther from the truth.  We never wanted to be in this position.  Our nightly dream is a world where all children are raised by loving, caring, adequate parents.  But they aren't.  We don't have that world yet.

But all children deserve to be raised in a loving, safe, nurturing environment and so, with heavy hearts and many prayers we step up.  We choose that which we don't want because it needs to be done.  

So the next time someone says to you with that annoying attitude... "Well... you didn't have to do this... you chose to do this" remember and maybe even explain:
1. We never wanted to know that there were children in the world who have endured and survived what some of our children have endured and survived. 2. Not wanting to deal with all that fostering brings does NOT mean we don't love the children, and even enjoy them.
3. We don't do it because of the money, or the fun, or even the joy.  When the joy and the fun come they are welcome bonuses, rewards for the effort and the pain.

We do it [or at least I do it] because it needs to be done.  Because every child deserves to be loved, to be safe, and to know joy.  Be sad that not all children can/do get this from their own parents.  Be proud that this is something you choose, that you choose to give children that love, that safety and to teach them to see and feel joy.  We DARE to choose to foster parent and kinship care.

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