To the foster parent who feels like nothing is going right, I’ve been there. Days were long and hard for the first several months. I felt like giving up. I felt like a failure. I felt like I couldn’t be what they needed.
There was one particular day that I sat on the floor of my bedroom leaning against my door as my 2 year old screamed and pounded on the other side of the door. It was the day after a visit, and she was flooded with emotions. She didn’t know how to express them, so it all just came out in hateful fits. She was unbearable to be around. I just wanted a freakin break from the incessant screaming.
My other daughter, 4 years old at the time, wasn’t much better that day. Her attitude and rude comments sent me past my breaking point.
I sat there on the floor crying and thinking, “Is this the way it’ll always be? Will they ever get past this?”
I took a minute to just be mad and sad, and I got up and went back into the war zone that was on the other side of that door, which Sadie had scratched and peeled the paint off of.
As I navigated meeting their needs, I felt completely drained, and I felt guilty about everything. I refused to use respite out of that guilt, and then when I finally broke down and did respite, they got sick. Again. Of course. I had to pick them up within a few hours of dropping them off. Then I got in a car wreck on the way home. Oh, which was the day before I started back at work for the school year.
That week was one of the darkest weeks of my journey. The weight of my new life was too much. I didn’t think I would survive, but just like He always does, God showed up. He made a way. He provided grace and strength to get through those days.
But here I am 4 years later, and I can see how God used those hard days to shape their story of redemption. Their trauma was an ugly beast that crept up daily. But God. He loves them more than I ever could. He is for them, and He is not going to leave them in their struggle.
I’m not saying it’s smooth sailing now. We still have rough days. Trauma still comes up at inconvenient times, and my patience has a limit. But through lots of tenacious love and prayer and therapy and permanency, we have learned skills that help us navigate those days.
Lean into your support system. These days aren’t meant to be tackled alone whether that means doing respite for a day or a weekend or even a week or starting therapy or taking a vacation or doing a stay-cation or just finding a really good hiding spot in your house. Figure out what works for your family in the season that you’re in. Embrace your new normal and give yourself and your family some grace.
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