It can be hard to recognize who you were before you became a foster parent. If I would ask my husband who he was before fostering, he would probably respond, “I was not this tore up!”
Unfortunately, it is easier to recall negative experiences over positive, and there is a physiological reason why this happens. The brain handles positive and negative information in different hemispheres. Negative emotions involve more thinking. This causes the information to be processed more thoroughly so that they are easier to recall.
It can be hard to focus on the positive experiences of the fostering journey. The small and simple moments of joy can be taken for granted. But those small attributes molded you to the person you are today.
Prior to fostering, my husband was a dad to two children. As a licensed foster parent, he has been a dad to as many as seven children at one time, and a dad to 17 children over the last 10 years. My husband acts as an army for his children. He provides them with the best possible resources to help and heal them in every way needed. Yet, if asked about all the positive things he has done over the last 10 years, he would simply reply, “I was just being Dad.”
Looking through a different lens
What if we as foster parents looked at everything we do through a different lens? What if each day we celebrated the small taken-for-granted moments to build positive memories that are easier to recall?
Dear foster parents, do not overlook everything you do on a daily basis. You are an EXTRAORDINARY person digging out of the ordinary situations and events. You rise each day with great love, patience and perseverance to make a difference for a struggling family.
Take a moment today to look at all of your accomplishments, everything you have learned and the phenomenal person you have become on your fostering journey! You are not torn up. You are an army fostering the lives of children with the titles of Mom and Dad.
– Betsy DuKatz, licensed foster parent
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Community Services recruits, trains and provides support services for foster families. The need for foster parents in Wisconsin is great. Contact us to receive information about becoming a foster or adoptive parent, or visit our website to learn more.