Don’t worry about the sticks and stones of fostering. It’s the words that can hurt.
That old childhood rhyme “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will
never hurt me” is really just the opposite of what we deal with in life. I can’t really think of the times I’ve had to protect or defend myself from
the sticks and stones yet I can name countless times I’ve had to defend, protect or heal from the hurt of words.
- ”When are you done with this fostering?”
- “Your decision was made for your whole family.”
- “Why are you adding more stress to your life?”
Early on in our fostering journey, we felt the need to try to answer everyone’s questions,
to give others an ending date or explanation. But it seems that each time we felt we were near the end of our journey, God blessed us with an opportunity to continue. We seemed to give the answer, “We may be done,” because it was the easy version of what people were looking to hear. We didn’t truly feel this in our hearts, and with time we grew up to stand up for our decisions and the life we were living, despite it being confusing or difficult for others to understand or accept.
Aspects of fostering really do fuel other people’s confusion and lack of understanding, whether it be court dates, traumatized children, relationships with parents who have neglected/hurt children, or just the overall stress of healing the hurt. Yet just about everything in life has aspects that others will not understand
Why does someone stay in a loveless marriage? Why does someone train for an Ironman Triathlon? Why did someone just give birth to her fifth child? Why did those people move their whole family across the country for a job?
All of these questions involve stress, which is a form of trauma, and are decisions made by adults without the consent of their children. Each of these events affect all the members of the family. We celebrate Ironman triathletes as strong, giving birth as a miracle, and job offers as signs of success, and fostering is no exception. But the outside world tends to focus on the stress of the adults with their decision to foster and not the miracles that touch each member of the family.
Like anything you put yourself out there to do, there will be good and bad, ups and downs, successes and mistakes. Hard does not mean wrong, not in occupations, athletics or families. The world will always have critics with perceptions and judgements. This same world will also have foster parents who strive valiantly, win or lose, with great devotion to a worthy cause.
– Betsy DuKatz, licensed foster parent