I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; …to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. Isaiah 42:6-7,16
In this, our final post for our Focus on Foster Care week, we asked our friends and family who are or have been in the trenches as foster mothers to respond to this question: “What is the greatest joy and the greatest challenge of fostering?” Here is what they had to say:
- (One of) the greatest joy(s) of fostering is watching your biological kids love on kids and accept them graciously. So many people seem to think they will suffer so much doing foster care. That isn’t true.
(One of) the great challenge(s) of fostering is not judging the kids’ biological parents for having put their kids in bad situations. We ALL fall short. Learning to show grace when people don’t deserve it, is a hard lesson on how God has shown US grace when we didn’t deserve it!
~Kelly, Rogers, AR
Greatest joy: Having one of your foster kids say- “Thank you for loving me. I wouldn’t be the mom I am if it wasn’t for you”-a decade later. Greatest challenge: Learning to work with a very flawed system and giving it grace as God gives us- nothing and no one is perfect!
~Tiffany, Frisco, TX www.simplestofgifts.com
- The biggest challenge is seeing such very young people who carry so much pain.
The greatest joy, specifically for me, the day the judge signed the papers stating that the boys were legally permanent members of my family. Overall, it was seeing the resiliency of kids who had been through terrible experiences. For me, seeing them smile was a testament that God really is in control and provides comfort to those in need. I felt blessed to be the physical arms that represented His comfort and support.
~ Kendra, Rogers, AR
- The greatest joy of fostering is the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a child who has never experienced unconditional love. The greatest struggle is trusting God through all of the uncertainty that comes with being a foster parent. That uncertainty comes from not knowing how long a child will be in your home, questioning whether or not you are doing everything possible to meet a child’s specific needs, and second-guessing yourself when those around you are quick to judge.
~Ashley, Bentonville, AR
- There are great joys and challenges with each placement, some are reunited with parents, for some its adoption into a forever family. As a foster-mother, my heart remembers each of these moments. For my husband and me, the stress on one particular day was heightened, as the biological parents of a child in our home were in court, facing termination of all their parental rights. It had been a long three-year journey. As we were waiting on the call concerning the outcome at court, we had also accepted a new “placement”, a 2-day old, drug-exposed baby girl. The worker brought her into our home and she was so tiny, so seemingly perfect, we immediately fell in love, knowing the goal was reunification with her mother. I would do all I could to walk-out the process with this drug-addicted mother, knowing it would be a steep, up-hill battle for her to change her life style and gain back custody of this child. And just as this new journey was beginning, the phone rang…the Judge had made his decision, termination of parental-rights granted. It was bittersweet moment even after 3 years of refusing to take necessary steps to gain back custody of their child, I felt deeply saddened for these biological parents. More often than not, these children leave a foster home to reunite with biological parents or being placed in a new adoptive family. But for these two girls, the journey led to being adopted into our family. You don’t always know what God has in store when you say “yes” to a child!
~Tayna- Kansas City, MO
We want to hear from you! If you are or have ever been a foster mother, please comment below and tell us your greatest joy and greatest challenge.
Focus on Foster Care Week:
Sunday: Introduction: Focus on Foster Care– We highlighted three unique ministries that serve foster children in creative ways.
Monday: For the Love of a Mother; Safe in the Arms of The Father– Becky Shaffer shared her testimony of growing up in the foster system and how those experiences shaped her as a mother.
Wednesday: 10 Things I Forgot About Life with Strangers– Becky Shaffer gave practical advice about fostering from the perspective of someone who has lived it.
Thursday: Voices of Foster Siblings– We heard from two children, who are now adults, about what it was like to grow up in a home in which their biological families welcomed foster children.