I just ran across an Instagram post where a Foster Parent with an newborn placement used a cute photo with a half heartedly placed sticker over baby’s face to offer a discount on her online store. News flash Carol. You can still see most of the baby’s face. Even my partially blind grandma would be able to identify that baby from what was left visible. No sharing of identifying photos is a law for the baby’s protection. So.
I will now be going to sleep all triggered and such.
Foster children have already been exploited enough. There is a difference in writing to raise awareness, share struggles, triumphs, to give a glimpse into the realities of foster care and writing to selfishly gain.
Let me tell you what I gain as a Foster Parent.
I gain more insomnia. More anxiety. More worry.
I gain another weight on my shoulders as I care for lives of the broken, abandoned, abused, neglected, traumatized, confused, heartbroken, malnourished, undiagnosed, the pain, the hurt, the anger… I gain the baggage of another person, a child. One who is not able to carry it all themselves.
I gain frustrations. I gain tears. I gain everything they are carrying and more.
I gain a new normal. I gain grief. I gain learning to love someone where they are at. I gain a fire in my belly to be their advocate. I gain a paycheck that doesn’t even cover their expenses such as diapers, clothes, school related items, activities etc…
Not all that I gain is hard, raw, rough or bad.
I also gain two more arms to hug (if they will let me.) I gain more love (even if they can’t love me back). I gain a son or daughter that I never stop loving or praying for (even if they go home or get adopted by others). I gain the immense amount of joy watching these precious people overcome, succeed, grow, learn, and laugh (even if others can’t see it. It’s a Mom thing. To see what others can’t.)
I gain SO much from my foster children.
But I will NEVER use them FOR gain.
Not even for your respect, compliments or praise. If I wanted all that I would have taken up baton twirling and started doing pageants. ( I do look good in glitter ya’ll. )
I am adopted. This past year I found out that technically I was a foster child until my adoption was finalized. Now. NO. I did not undergo 95% of what the children I care for have gone or will go through. I acknowledge that. However, it’s made a new connection; a new label that I never knew I had. There is a term floating around the Adoption and Foster Care worlds called, “The Primal Wound.” This refers to the wound left in a child when they have been placed for adoption or hurt by a parent in anyway. Our parents are supposed to be our safe place. Sometimes they are not. Even the best laid out adoptions create trauma and pain. Even the most open adoptions still come with wounds. It’s science. Thanks to the “Decade of the Brain” we now know that even removing a child from their parents as an infant can create damage to the Amygdala.
I know. I am 35 years old and have a smorgasbord of diagnoses related to moving from one loving pair of arms to another.
So when I see a baby with a heart on her face with a coupon code below it, my heart breaks.
We are not pawns. We are not your story to tell. We are not 20% discounts. We are not a cute photo with a heart slapped over our faces. We are not here to make you feel like you are some sort of hero, boost your sales or make you feel good about yourself as a person.
We are children.
We are foster children.
Don’t use us for your gain.
We have nothing left to loose.
*I chose my title for this blog from one of Pink’s latest hits. I cannot make it through this song without weeping. It puts into words what the Primal Wound feels like.
You can listen and watch below: