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Reflections on Fostering: Its Ok Not to be Ok.

As we continue on our fostering journey, there are moments when I find myself grappling with deep emotions. Some days, I'm haunted by past experiences—replaying situations, reflecting on how we cared for a child, and agonizing over the decisions we had to make, especially those times when we had to say goodbye to a child. I spend hours questioning whether I handled things correctly or if I contributed to a child's challenges while with us. The weight of these thoughts can be overwhelming, leading me to question my suitability for this life.

Fostering is undeniably difficult—hurt people can inadvertently hurt people, and teenagers naturally face struggles as part of growing up. When you add trauma to the mix, and a child unwilling to confront it, it can create a challenging environment that may not lead to a successful adoption. As a result, you might find yourself unfairly shouldering the blame. During these times, self-reflection can be daunting. I remind myself that the issues I face with these young people stem more from their pain than any inadequacies of mine.

Then there are the heart-wrenching moments when you encounter a former teen in public, only to be ignored. Questions swirl in your mind about what went wrong and the misinformation spread by others. It's natural to feel a range of emotions—anger, sadness, heartbreak. Yet, it's essential to acknowledge that these experiences are part of parenting. It's okay to share the feelings that arise from these wounds. After all, when you open your heart to someone, choosing them to be part of your family, the pain of rejection can cut deeply. This journey teaches us to navigate through complex emotions and continue to offer our love and support, despite the challenges.

Two important things to remember when dealing with these issues:

  1. It's okay to express your emotions and let the child and others know how you feel.

  2. Often, the situation of being thrust into a family he didn't know about a year ago is not your fault; you just happen to be in the way and taking the brunt of the hurt. His abuse and the trauma that resulted from it are not your fault; it's just your job to pick up the pieces.

It's not always easy, and it's definitely not fair, but it's part of this world that everyone faces. You're not alone; you're a foster parent, and were in this toge

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