This story is not told. This story is just left on the shelf. You hear all the stories about the foster care system, about the children in foster care, foster parents, and even birth parents, but it’s my turn. This is my family’s foster care journey from my point of view.
Honestly, the thought of sharing this touchy subject is pretty terrifying, but this is nothing but the truth. The thought of opening up my house to the world around me made me very scared. I went through a very heated internal struggle with myself. I have been blessed with, in my opinion, the best family I have ever met. So the thought of sharing my family made my head spin.
My mother came to me about a year ago and asked me how I felt about the whole situation. I shared the “negative” side of foster care with her, even though she already knew this. God has always been a big part of my life, so the next Sunday we went to church. The most peaceful thoughts rushed through my body and made all the “negatives” not matter anymore.
A couple of days later, she brought up the subject again, and I said, “Mom, you have supported everything I have done. Now it’s my turn.”
In that moment, we started our journey to become a foster family. Many classes, months of training, and interviews later, we, as a family, reached our goal. About a week after we were approved, we got a phone call that changed our life as we knew it. Our first kids were finally coming. There was a part of me that was so excited. The other part of me was asking herself “What do you say to a child that was just ripped out of their home?”
I can now tell you that this experience is the best thing that has happened in my life. Yes, it’s stressful. Yes, our house is always crazy. Yes, I don’t get all the attention that I used to. I know that the foster care system is not perfect; it has its problems. But coming home to those kids brightens my whole day. They give me so much joy. They fill a void that has always been missing.
It has opened my eyes to the awful things that happen, not far away, but very close to us. It has taught me to be patient and brought out this whole other side of me that I have never seen before. I was given a chance to help children that are lost, confused and helpless. If I even help one child and open their eyes to the love of Jesus and the love of other people, it would give me the greatest joy.
You were born with the ability to change someone’s life. Don’t ever waste it.
Written by Emily, age 16 – UMCH Foster Sibling