Fostering children with special needs has always been a thought in the back of my mind because my husband’s sister has been doing it almost 20 years. Her kiddos became family. We also felt called to foster children because we believe that it’s right to take care of widows and orphans.
When we received our first and, so far, only placement we were excited. The first weeks were exhausting with so many appointments, court dates, parental visits and the run of the mill activities such as getting clothes that properly fit and enrolling for school. Shortly after he was enrolled in school, the great 2020 shutdown occurred so there was no school, no reprieve. We had a new child in our home which required a lot of attention in addition to our other sons in the home. We survived! We are all alive and no worse for the wear.
I look back at the timeframe and see how God’s hand orchestrated every detail for His glory and our benefit. The family got to know our foster son better than if he had gone to school daily. We learned his strengths and challenges quickly and through that got him the much-needed help he deserved. I don’t want to give you the impression it was easy because it wasn’t. In fact, now in 2022, I still struggle with managing a full-time family and fostering our foster son. He still requires much care. There are not a lot of minutes in the day for self-care.
There have been days that I wonder WHY do we continue to foster care. It would be so easy to give up and take the easier way through life. I’ve been told by fellow foster parents that if it were easy everyone would do it. Sometimes that doesn’t bring the needed adjustment to my attitude that is required in that particular moment, BUT the next day I will see our foster son master a life skill and it brings happy satisfaction to my heart. It’s as clear as a blue sky why I continue to do what I do.
Which bring me to my point of remembering the why. My why for fostering special needs kiddos is because it is what I am called to do. If I don’t, who will? I’m far from perfect, but I love hard and much. If I can change one person’s life for the better I’ve accomplished something that will better the world.
ADDED BONUS FOR ANYONE BURNED OUT: I recently read an article on Facebook about a mother who was grumpy all of time. Her children and husband pointed out that she had been unhappy for quite some time. She was burned out. I feel that to my bones. Having an extra child in the home that’s not yours through a complete shutdown can be overwhelming and frustrating, but I realize that our little people feed off what we portray. The article suggested that each day remind yourself to “only love today”. We must live in the present, not in the frustrations of yesterday or the anxiety of tomorrow. Just love today. I’ve practiced this mantra for a few days now and I can tell you that the house is a happier home.
By Sarah Bruce, Rainbows Foster Mom
Would you share your home with a child? If you would like to find out more about fostering a child with special needs, join Rainbows’ experts for an online Foster Care Interest Session this Thursday, February 17 at 6:30 p.m. Register Here.