To Foster Parents on Thanksgiving
Thank you for opening your homes and hearts to the many types of children who need foster care. You welcome the fussy infant born to the addicted mother as well as toddlers who are hurt and scared. You agree to foster a sibling group because you know it’s in their best interests to live together. And, because you agree to take on the angry teenager who says she doesn’t need a family when you know that’s what she needs most.
Thank you for respecting your foster children’s ties to their birth parents and for working with birth parents to help their children. In doing so, you give your foster child permission to love all of the adults who care for him. When they see you treating their birth parents with dignity, they feel better about themselves. Your actions protect them from some of the loyalty conflicts, which are so common for foster children.
Thank you for understanding that the goal for every child in foster care is a permanent, life-long family. Your work to support your foster child’s reunification with birth parents, guardianship by kin or adoption allows them to have the family every child deserves. Every time you help a foster child move on to his “forever” home, your heart breaks a little bit, but you do it because it’s best for him.
Thank you for having two qualities that are needed to maintain your sanity as a foster parent. You have an incredible sense of humor in the face of extremely frustrating behavior. You see humor in situations that make lesser mortals weep. And, you have a finely developed ability not to take even the most challenging behavior personally. You truly understand that “it’s not about me.” You know that when your foster child rejects your efforts to care for her, she is really testing the strength of your commitment to her.
Thank you for having a reserve of strength to call upon in difficult times. Your determination to parent some very challenging children is amazing. Whether it comes from your faith, your commitment to help others or from your own experiences as a child, your tenacity is remarkable. Your willingness to “hang in there” is a gift to every child who is able to remain in your home despite his sometimes overwhelming needs.
Thank you for accepting your role as a member of a team working to help children. You welcome social workers into your home, support contact with birth parents, attend countless meetings, fill out way too much paperwork and attend training even when there are a million other things you’d rather be doing. It does take a village to do right by a foster child and you are a very important person in the village.
Have a great Thanksgiving and thanks!
Written by Diane Kindler