Foster care never starts out with a happy story. Tragedy, abuse, violence, lack of capability, trauma – these are lives foster children come from. It is hard to comprehend what these children have been through. In the last year alone there has been an 8 per cent rise in the number of New Zealand children and young people in the care of the state. Over 5,600 kids are now in care.
My heart breaks for these kids. I look at my children and can’t imagine them going through the trauma of the birth family’s situation, but also the trauma of separation and uncertainty of going into the Foster Care system. How scary must it be for them! Not having a place to call home or knowing where their lives are headed.
I am a biological mother. I am also a foster mother. Currently we have a young baby in our care who has been with us since a very young age. My biological kids absolutely adore this little one. They have connected so well and really feel as if there is no distinction between biological and foster siblings. We are currently waiting to see if this little one is going to be permanently placed in our care.
I love another woman’s child. I find it hard at times to remind myself that this little one wasn’t carried in my womb. It is incredible how much I have bonded with this little person. Carrying them, feeding their bottles (breastfeeding is not allowed by foster parents, unfortunately), watching them grow, giggle, cry when they are hurting – it all feels just like my biological children.
I get told so often what an amazing person I am for “taking on” this little one and how “lucky” the child is to have us. It really bugs me to hear that. I feel as if we are the lucky ones. We are the ones who get the joy of walking into the bedroom in the morning and getting greeted with smiles and giggles. We are the ones who get the cuddles. We are the ones who see all the milestones and memories being made.
I get told so often what an amazing person I am for “taking on” this little one and how “lucky” the child is to have us. It really bugs me to hear that. I feel as if we are the lucky ones.
Every time we take this precious child to visitation, the mother’s heart in me breaks seeing the relief and brokenness the birth mother feels at seeing her child again. She misses out on so much. Yes, I know she is responsible for her own life choices and for the reason the child is in our care. I also see just how almost impossible it seems for her to be able to get her life into a position where she will ever be able to care for children. Yet that doesn’t stop her from absolutely loving her child. That doesn’t stop her from longing for them. That doesn’t stop her heart from tearing to shreds every time we drive away, little one snug in the car seat in the back beside their new siblings.