1. There is NO one RIGHT way to parent.
We’ve all heard this right? But really…being a foster parent, your parenting skills get thrown for a loop! And your new bags of tricks you’ve learned through licensing process gets put the test. There is no one right way to parent. I love having my eyes opened to a new way of thinking. A new way of viewing the world and a new way of viewing others. No one is perfect – adults or kids. So be prepared to take the parent wins and fails in stride… and frequently. And if someone you knows is a foster parent, remember to give them a break. They are simply trying their best – just like you!
2. Take the FOSTER out of foster CHILD.
This was my favorite class while I was getting certified as a foster parent. The instructor asked us to list out all the words we associated with – “Foster child”. We blurted them out and he wrote them on the board. Then he flipped it on us. He said “If you take the FOSTER out of child, what words do you associate with simply the word – CHILD?”…WHOA! Total mind shift in how we ALL viewed or didn’t know how we really viewed kids in the system who need a home. Definitely changed my perspective. This shift made me more compassionate and less judgmental (ugh! yes, I make judgments but I try really hard not to).
3. They are just as scared as you are.
This sort of goes back to #1 and not being perfect or right. Can you imagine being taken from all that you know? One day we met 2 kids who needed placed and they were so shy at first, then willingly got into our car over the weekend and traveled to our home for a visit because they might come live with us and the adults in charge of them said it was “OK” to come with us. Can you imagine how scary that must be? That even though I’ve been certified and back ground checked and trained to be a Foster Parent they still don’t know me and don’t care about my training and have probably been taught about Stranger Danger in school….. Hello! I’m a stranger that you’re supposed to trust all of the sudden! (insert the sarcasm here).
4. The littlest things you do could impact them more than you know.
Kids are the paparazzi. They are always watching and taking note even when you don’t think they are. We know this right? Your kids, the neighborhood kids, school kids or foster kids. They notice it all.
One day I took my kids and little foster daughter to the $1 store. They each got to pick something out. She headed right for the makeup aisle and picked out a very bright orange-ish tube of lipstick. It honestly was not the best color – on anyone (ha ha ha!). We looked around other aisles and found many more things but she could not be persuaded to change her mind. When I asked her why she wanted lipstick instead of a treat or a toy she said “I want to wear lipstick so I can be like you!” Insert heart melting moment. She wore that “awful” bright lipstick proudly that day and many other days and I just smiled when I saw her wearing it.
5. I didn’t know my heart could grow and break at the same time.
Bringing anyone into your family makes your heart expand and grow in new ways. You learn to love in new ways. You take the parenthood “punches” and the wins – the highs and lows. Your heart breaks for their pain, their heartache and their struggles. Your heart grows in their joy, their happiness, their healing and their successes. Your heart cracks and breaks and those cracks and breaks allow it to become bigger and be put back together into something new. A new place full of more love and experience and compassion. Saying hello and saying goodbyes to people who come and go in our lives isn’t always the easiest process but if we let it… the process can teach us so much and make us into someone better who life just maybe needs us to be.
Megan is a #momboss in business with her family! Part time blogger at BrassyApple.com and full time online boutique owner at noVaeClothing.com. She just finished a year long journey being a gestational carrier for another couple who couldn’t have kids. Megan and her family have a manta of wear good, feel good do good! They are adventure seekers and lovers of life! You can follow her on IG at @brassyapple & @novae_clothing