Anyone who is called to foster probably has a compassionate heart, a love of children and a genetically embedded desire to help others.
It takes all of those ingredients (and some), to want to take in and love the hurt children of our world, but what about the previous generation of these children? What about their parents? Do we love the hurt parents that come into our lives like we love the hurt children in our homes?
As I sat through a two-day termination hearing listening to testimony of one of ‘our’ child’s biological father I couldn’t help but feel the pain that he had himself experienced. This “father” had fallen deep into drug addiction for the past twenty years. He had five children from a number of women, whom he had not had contact with. He had so much emotional “baggage” (if you will) that he had trouble thinking of anyone but himself. He had learned early on in his life to “take care of me, myself and I”. He was only briefly able to maintain relationships because of his lack of true connection and had learned to cope with his early years of pain through the use of hard drugs.
As I listened to his story I began to wonder, would he have ‘fathered’ this way himself had someone just taken an opportunity to show him how to love, how to parent early on? Unfortunately, no one did and this man chose the only path he knew… he became a “father” who abused, neglected and forever wounded his child. For this “family” it was too late, too “damaged” and to the point of no return. A clear picture of pain passed on through the generations.
It’s hard to hear that a parent has hurt their child. It’s hard to hear their excuses or lack of concern for their children. It’s hard to love someone who doesn’t understand the concept of love. Remembering that, these ‘parents’ where once children in similar homes and similar situations. Molded by the environment in which they were once in, some of these parents are no more at fault for the ‘consequences’ they were faced with as a child that their children are.
They were the previous generation of ‘our’ children who unfortunately didn’t get or accept the guidance they needed to become a successful parent themselves. Yes, today as ‘parents’ they have another chance and can make a choice and have ‘the system’ there to assist them in restoration but unfortunately sometimes it’s just to late. They “parent” the best they know how and although that may not be enough for them to be able to care for their children on a full time basis I’ve learned to accept that they are loving their children to the best of their ability whether it meets our standards or not it’s still the best they have to offer. When ‘our’ children ask about the love of their biological family our answer can be nothing less than “They loved you to the best of their ability.”
– Posted on May 30, 2011 by Momma
Called to Foster – A place to share resources, insight and encouragement regarding foster care.