Being a foster parent can in some ways be one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. Caring and providing for a child, even when it isn’t yours, is bound to create a bond between the two of you. This bond can really brighten up your life, as anyone with children will tell you. Hard work put aside, children are one of the greatest sources of joy and fulfillment.However, sometimes foster parenting can also seem like one of the most cruel and emotionally taxing jobs as well. It requires a strong person to take a child into their life, raise it as if it’s your own, only to possibly see it being “taken” away from you at a later stage. It’s common for foster parents to feel grief, anger, and worry when and if the child is reunited with its biological parents.
It’s going to be tough. There’s no doubt about that. The only question that we can ask is; How can we make it easier on ourselves emotionally and spiritually?
The first thing to keep in mind is the purpose that you serve in the child’s life. It’s important to always keep in mind that the goal is to be the best parent that you can be, for as long as it may be needed, and then let the child reunite with its parents. It’s important to always keep this in the back of your mind, and to expect and prepare for the day when you and the child will have to part ways. It won’t be easy to do so, but it will be a lot easier on your heart if you expect that this day will come, instead of fooling and reaffirming yourself that it will never happen.
The second key to lowering your stress is to forgive yourself for the way that you feel. We could probably argue that if you don’t feel a bit of selfishness and anger when and if that day comes, there might just be something wrong with you. It’s something that we hear over and over again, the wonderful foster parents who gives the child everything, and who at the end just can’t help but feel a bit of anger, jealousy and grief when the child is reunited. These emotions can often be intensified if one considers the fact that often, the foster parents are more suited to raise the child than the biological parents are.
Finally, think back of the days before you became a foster parent. Remember what it was that first got you into this. Was it that you wanted to do some good in this world? That perhaps you wanted to provide a kid with the hope for a better future? Back then, it’s likely that you could approach such a question with a much more clear head when all of the mixed emotions clouding your judgement weren’t there. Once you are clear on the reasons you had back then, try to keep those in your mind and remind yourself of them whenever you feel a bit lost.
You knew it wouldn’t be easy. All you can do is to keep striving to do the best that you can, whilst knowing that it may be taken away from you one day. That is what makes foster parenting one of the most noble jobs in the world, and you owe yourself a pat on the back for being one of those few that takes on that job.