Saint AlexSunday, May 22, 2016
"You guys are doing such a great thing."
"It takes something special to raise someone else's children."
"You're such a saint to take in foster children!"
"Those boys are so lucky to have you!"
Since we've started fostering, we've heard all of these things and more. We hear the last one often. People always mean well, of course, and the intent of the speaker is always appreciated.
However, I do not consider these boys lucky to have us. If anything, we are lucky to have them.
If they were lucky, they would never have been in foster care. Tom and I, who both could have ended up in foster care, were lucky that we had family members who were able to step up when it was needed. Though I was shuffled around as a wee one, at least I was only shuffled between people I knew and loved. Jamie and Nolie have found themselves living with strangers multiple times, including us. We had been fortunate enough to be able to meet with Jamie on a few occasions prior to their placement with us, but we didn't even know what Nolie looked like until the night they came to live with us. If they were lucky, they wouldn't have to deal with the trauma they've been through, from whatever led to their removal, to being ripped from their parents, to being shuffled from home to home (five in under a year). Not to mention that learning to adjust to different people and homes, all while attempting to navigate their very confusing feelings at such a young age, must be extremely difficult for them.
If they were lucky, they would have gotten a "normal" start at life.
Tom and I, on the other hand, only get to finally be parents because of the misfortune of these precious boys. It is their pain and suffering that has led to so much joy for us, and sometimes, it can be difficult to process that. We may not have been the reason for everything they've gone through in their short lives, but it's still hard not to feel guilty sometimes knowing that we are benefitting from their chaos.
We are lucky to have these boys in our lives. They have finally given us the gift of being parents. I don't expect them to be grateful to us.
But boy, am I grateful for them.