‘Walking into the house, I said to the baby, ‘We are home!’ It felt cruel. These words aren’t true. This is her home now, but it’s only temporary.’: Foster mom urges ‘I am not a superhero, they are’

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“People often say, ‘I couldn’t foster. I’d never be able to let them go.’ It’s probably the most common thing foster families hear.

Maybe I’m in a bad mood, but to that I say, ‘It’s a bad excuse.’

Foster parents are not superhuman or hard-hearted. It hurts us to see kids we’ve loved as our own leave us. But I want you to know, yes, you could let them go and you would. Why? Because you’re an adult and you can handle it. You would obey the law. You would learn to fight for what you can and surrender what you can’t. You would grieve, but you would be okay.

Do you know what’s so much worse than getting attached and letting go?

Watching a biological parent try to parent and fail over and over again.

Seeing families torn apart and it being unfixable. Seeing no solution except more brokenness.

Seeing siblings separated.

Seeing families fail because they have no support system or are not mentally capable to parent.

Watching a parent not try. Give up. Abandon their kids over and over. Seeing how they could be decent parents if they were able to beat their addictions.

Having kids in your home attach to you. Seeing them settled in your home. Knowing they think you are their new forever. They think your home is their home. Knowing they can’t stay and will feel trauma all over again.

Watching agencies offer solutions and seeing families not take those opportunities. Watching them not take it seriously. Watching them lose what they want because they are too stubborn to do what they need to do.

Watching a parent cry. You both know they are giving up. Seeing the shame on their face. Watching them lose their fight.

Saying no. I want to be able to say yes to every placement. Every new and old sibling. I want to be able to let them all stay, but we can’t. We are not superhuman. We have limits and have to know them.

Today I feel a bit weary because of all of these things and more. While walking into the house, I said to the baby, ‘Home.’ ‘We are home.’ It felt cruel as I said it. Teaching her words that aren’t true.

Courtesy of Melissa Langis

I know this is her home right now. I know we are their temporary family and parents. I will be okay when we have to say goodbye. It will be sad. We will grieve. We will be okay in the end. But will they? It’s much harder to know they will suffer. It’s much harder to know how attached they are and know we are not there forever.

Attachment is always good. It’s never wasted. It’s healthy for brain development. It’s needed for emotional health. But gosh it’s hard to feel like it’s being used on us and not their forever families.

Please think of kids in care today. They are superheroes! Life has thrown at them a big huge set of unfair circumstances. Sometimes it feels like there’s nothing we can do to fully protect their hearts, and it’s really all I want to do most.”

Courtesy of Melissa Langis
Courtesy of Melissa Langis

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Melissa Langis of Faith, Love and Foster Care. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories from foster parents:

‘Nobody loves me. Not even my mom.’ He sobs, his belongings in a trash bag for the next foster home.’: Social worker shares heartbreaking story of boy stuck in ‘broken’ foster care system

‘She was a homeless, single teen mom who aged out of foster care. She had 6 kids and was the same age as me! My heart broke.’: Single woman fosters 36 kids, adopts 2 children into ‘forever family’

‘That night I cried in my driveway for a child. 10 minutes later, I got a call. ‘Can you take in 1-year old twin boys?’: 26-year-old single foster mom says ‘I was called for plans bigger than myself’

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