Sunday, January 15, 2012

That Comment Makes Me Want To...

Yesterday, my online foster mommy BFF (aka. Mama Foster :-) wrote a post that definitely struck a nerve with me.  It was about "The Comment."  It's the one that foster parents by far hear the most, and the one that kind of makes me want to punch someone in the face.

That comment is usually followed by "Isn't it hard to give them up?" Seriously? You're seriously asking me that? What do you think?!? OF COURSE IT'S HARD, YOU TACTLESS WENCH!

To be clear, I have never struck anyone in my life, and I don't intend to start now.  But that comment repeated over and over by the same person every. single. time you see them...  I work with two of these women, and it's enough to make me want to smack them.

It does make me wonder what, exactly, they are trying to say.  Are they saying that they would love my kids more than I do, so it's okay for me to give them back?  Are they saying that I'm cold and unfeeling with a heart of steel, so it's easier for me than it would be for them?  Are they saying that I must have some kind of superpower that enables me to hand over these children who I love like they're my own without a second thought?  Why one earth would anyone say something like that?!?

Like Mama Foster said, "Obviously, fostering is not for everyone or right for everyone," and I whole-heartedly agree.  The world of foster care is hard.  It takes you on an emotional roller coaster that can be completely overwhelming at times.  It took me years of praying about it and a lot of soul-searching to finally make the decision to put my heart on the line and go for it, and most people have legitimate reasons for not being able to handle it.  But to those women who stop me in the hall on a regular basis and tell me how they could never foster because they just "love too much" and that they "couldn't let them go," I say to them...

"That's too bad." 

Because while you sit back and tell me how impossible it would be to love these kids and let them go, I am loving these kids.  And I will love them every day for the rest of my life.

Do I still break down and have myself a good, sobbing cry from time to time?  Absolutely. 

Do I wish I'd never put myself in a position to miss a child so much that I physically ache for them at times?  Not a chance! 

Because I can't imagine a life without ever having a little Monkey who called me "Mama," who danced to my horrific singing voice, and who smiled ear to ear every time he laid eyes on me.  I can't imagine a life without ever having a Booger Bear who begged to sleep with me every night because "Mimi's bed" was so much better than his, who ran up to me at random times just to give me a hug, and who to this day still randomly tells me "I love you!"  I can't imagine a life without the memories of all of my kids (even Itty Bitty who screamed almost non-stop for the few days that she was with me ;-).  I can't imagine a life where I sat back and did nothing while someone else stepped up and cared for these kids that I've loved so much simply because I was afraid of getting hurt. 

So the next time those women stop me in the hall and tell me how they won't risk loving these kids because they "love too much," I'll tell them...  "'Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all."


Julie said...

I loved Mama Foster's post. I loved your post. I have also had this said to me time and time again. I feel the same way you do. Of course it sucks, of course its hard. And yes, I still cry (a lot) over the little ones that have left. I think I am going to start using your line when someone says this to me next time... "that's too bad."

grr. this topic brings out the fiesty momma in me :)

Diane said...

Amen! Great follow-up to Mama Foster's post.

Shawnicy said...

I have never read your blog before today but I felt moved to comment. I am probably one of those women you speak of but please let me explain. I know that you love them dearly and I would NEVER think that you don't. I hold what you do, opening your hearts and homes to kids who so desperately need to be loved as one of the most amazing things a person can do! My reason for not being able to do that is I know I am not STRONG enough to do the amazing work you do. I KNOW you are stronger than I am and that you have been called to love these kids and care for them. I know that as much as I would love to hold them, love them and keep them safe, that it isn't my calling. I love and support all those who do cause I know there are times when they too need the support and love when their calling gets a little tough. I know that I can pray for them to have the strength when they need it and the peace and comfort when it is hard. But please don't think we think any less of you!! At least for me I know that while being a mom can be one of the hardest jobs out there I think being a foster mom is even more. Knowing that you get to love someone with every fiber of your being and knowing that you may not get to hold them forever yet still putting yourself out there for them. You are my hero's!!

aka. "Mimi" said...

Thank you for that, Shawnicy! I think those comments ("I couldn't give them back... Doesn't it hurt... etc.) are just a touchy ones for most foster parents simply because it DOES hurt so much to let them go, and our initial response is to assume that people think it DOESN'T hurt us the way it would hurt them. I REALLY appreciate your response. It definitely helps me see those comments from a different perspective! Thank you!!!

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