They say that you should never judge a man unless you have walked a mile in his shoes. But as Foster Parents we are all inclined to have feelings of anger towards our foster child’s biological parents for allowing them to be abused, neglected and subjected to unmentionable trauma.
This feeling of underlying anger easily becomes the third visitor we bring along to every visitation and interaction with the biological parents. They are already oversensitive having to face the reality of having messed up and ‘failed’ as parents, and upon sensing your underlying anger become even more defensive and angry. The end result is that the child’s loyalty and emotions gets torn between both sets of parents, and they therefore are exposed to even more trauma. The exact trauma we set out to protect them from.
Try to always keep in mind that it is not our task as foster parents to judge the biological parents; that task is reserved for the Children’s Court!
I’m not saying that what they did wasn’t wrong, or that we should become friends with them! What I am trying to say is that if we could just take some time to apply some empathy to the anger simmering in our hearts, it will be extremely beneficial to our end relationship with our foster child and their sense of well-being
Empathy is the ability to give someone the benefit of the doubt by trying to see life through their perspective. It is the art of not assuming that their motivations are evil, hostile, or threatening. See that they too come from an abused, neglected and rejected background. They also had high hopes of breaking free from the legacy of the abuse that they are trapped in, but just weren’t able to do so.
The more we show empathy, love and respect to others, the more our children will tend to follow in our footsteps, and the easier our visitations and interactions with the biological parents will become.