Dear Foster Parent
by Jill Rippy
17 May 2016
Inspired by many who have experienced life in foster care.
Dear Foster Parent,
The day I was taken from my home was the worst day of my life. I was scared and desperate to make sense out of what had just happened. I arrived at your home terrified. I was very much in survival mode. I wasn’t kind. I wasn’t easy to deal with. And I certainly didn’t want to be with you. To be totally honest, I don’t know how you even tolerated me.
It seemed like I was given a window to look out of, but the only problem was that it was so tinted and tainted that I couldn’t see what I needed to see for a while. As a kid in the foster system, it’s a lot harder to look beyond yourself and recognize all the things people are doing to help you have a better life. For me, that was you. The road was long and my growth was in baby steps. I had a lot to learn. I’m not proud of my behavior. But, you didn’t judge me and you stood by me. In fact, you pulled me out of the trenches too many times to count. You kept my head above water, when sometimes, all I wanted to do was sink into a dark sleep and never wake up.
And you never said anything out loud about my parents even though I imagine you must have had many terrible thoughts going through your head about them. I know there were times when I did.
Though I came to your home and was terrified, your warmth, your smile, your patience and your love made it so much easier for me. You introduced me to new foods, though I know I was a bit bratty about trying some of them. You comforted me when I was sad and hugged me when the nightmares were over. You cried with me when I opened up to you and stood firm on me remaining strong and using my pain for good. You didn’t back down when I wanted to get my way. Sometimes I thought you were either psychic or had secret video cameras because you always knew when I was up to no good. You taught me things I never knew and showed me places I may never experience again, though because of you, my dream is to visit there again one day. Your family welcomed me with open arms during the most difficult part of my young life.
I’m sorry for the things I did. I’m sorry for the terrible things I said…that I never meant. I’m sorry for the times when you probably were ready to wring my neck. I’m sorry for the times when my anger couldn’t be controlled and when I exploded on you. It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t even about you. My anger was really directed the people that I love the most, but they weren’t standing there. You were.
Thank you for bearing the load of ME. I want you to know that because of you, my life is so much better.
Thank you for showing me what a real family is supposed to look like and feel like. You taught me to love and care for my family. You taught me through your actions that family is supposed to be put before all else and treated with love and kindness. I wasn’t sure what a family was supposed to really look like until you.
Because of the things you taught me, I have a chance. I don’t want to continue the cycle of life that my family has perpetuated. I want to be great just like you told me I could be.
I hope I make you proud. I don’t know if I’ll ever see you again, but I want you to know that the long nights, the nightmares, the outbursts, the rage and the sadness were all made a little bit better and the darkness made a little bit brighter because I always knew I could count on you.
Please don’t give up. There are so many kids that need you just like me. If I didn’t have you, I don’t know where I would be.
To the foster daddies: I want you to know that you’re the only father that I have ever trusted. When the men in your life let you down or hurt you, it is such a terrible sadness to endure. You made me understand what a father’s love is supposed to be like. You set the example for me for what a father’s love looks like…for what a father’s touch is supposed to feel like. I learned the kindness and patience fathers are supposed to show to their children. Without you, I would’ve never known. Before you, my head was so mixed up about fathers. You set that straight for me.
To the foster mommies: You have no idea how your love, touch, kindness, example and words spoke to my heart. To see a mother who has it together, who didn’t choose other things over me…that was so critical for me to see. It’s devastating when your mother chooses something other than you to be the most important thing in her life. You have helped break the cycle for me.
Even for that short amount of time with you, I got to see what a mother should be like. The truth is, there are days when I wish I had been born from your body. I wish I could’ve had the kind of mother that I had in you. Clean clothing…always knowing food will be there whenever I was hungry…always having a parent home with me so I wasn’t scared…never being denied hugs and warmth….to have someone teach me how to cook, clean (even though I hated it) and to model for me what motherhood is really about.
You nailed it.
My life still isn’t easy. My trauma runs deep, but not as deep as it would had I not had you in my life. Because of you…my parents for a season of my life…I know better, see more clearly and have no excuses. You showed me the right way to live and love. I have battle scars and deep wounds, but I will overcome. You taught me that I can be anything….do anything and that I deserve a happy life.
I believe you.
I want you to know that you did a good job.
Thank you for loving me.
Thank a Foster Parent HERE
Thank a DCS Professional HERE
Inspired by many who have experienced life in foster care.
Being a foster mom is one of the biggest blessings of my life. Bio mom of two and foster mom to many, I count myself lucky to be on this foster journey. My mission is to change the lives of children who enter the foster care system and to recruit quality foster parents to join in this life changing work. I consider it a blessing to be a mother, foster mother, teacher, author and inspirer.