“I was reminded recently that I am ‘just the foster parent.’ Let me share with you ‘just’ what I really am.
I’m ‘just’ the one who got a call at midnight and said yes to adding a little one to my home with 10 minutes’ notice and no hesitation.
I’m ‘just’ the one who held that little one in my arms his first night. And second, and almost every night for 2 years.
I’m ‘just’ the one who took him in for surgery and sat by his side through medical appointment after medical appointment.
I’m ‘just’ the one who had to quit my full-time job because the child has 7 appointments a week.
I’m ‘just’ the one who had to explain to my 8-year-old that she didn’t deserve to be hurt.
I’m ‘just’ the one having to help a 5-year-old overcome her fear of police because her stepdad threatened to have her taken to jail over and over.
I’m ‘just’ the one having to take a 4-year-old in to get a haircut and be told the levels of drugs in his hair are the highest they’ve ever seen.
I’m ‘just’ the one whose 5-year-old follows me from room to room because he doesn’t want someone bad to find him.
I’m ‘just’ the one who has to clean the feces off the walls day after day because my 4-year-old was sexually abused.
I’m ‘just’ the one who has replaced a tv, 2 doors, a bunk bed, and countless other items because my 10-year-old doesn’t know anything outside of breaking things when he’s angry.
I’m ‘just’ the one who has been accused of everything imaginable by the bio parents but has no lawyers to fight for me.
I’m ‘just’ the one who wakes up at 6:30 every morning and gets the child ready for school.
I’m ‘just’ the one who provided birthday and Christmas presents only to have complaints of ‘spoiling’ made against me.
I’m ‘just’ the one having to call the hotline for disclosure after disclosure of abuse.
I’m ‘just’ the one taking my foster kids to behavioral therapy, occupational therapy, counseling, speech, doctors, eye checkups, physical therapy, etc.
I’m ‘just’ the one buying the school supplies and back-to-school clothes.
I’m ‘just’ the one who picked that newborn drug-addicted baby up from the hospital and the only parent that baby knows.
I’m ‘just’ the one telling this child she is ‘precious, loved, smart, funny, amazing’ every single day to try to rewrite the lies that she has been told.
I’m ‘just’ the one facing judgment, criticism, and stares on a daily basis each time I go out in public.
I’m ‘just’ the one trying to care for this child on 20 cents an hour.
I’m ‘just’ the one mentoring, supporting, and encouraging the bio parents in their journey so that they might get their kids back.
I’m ‘just’ the one who says goodbye to child after child after child, and grieves as if I had birthed them myself and most of the time without a hug of support or a word of encouragement from family or friends.
I’m ‘just’ the one loving these little ones as if they were my own, 24/7/365 only to be told I’m ‘just a foster parent.’
I am here to politely say that I am just that and so much more. And I consider it a blessing to be a foster parent despite all of it.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Krysten Vance. Join the Love What Matters family and subscribe to our newsletter.
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