An interviewer once asked me, ‘Isn’t it enough that you’ve kept these kids in a safe and healthy home, even if just for a while?’ and I said no. I had to believe that the grief of losing my foster kids to reunification was a good thing in order to submit to the routine. I think most foster parents hope for a better future for their foster kids— I just don’t have a clue how that can happen. The dysfunction, the trauma and mental illness and disability… how can services, as they exist now, really repair a family?
Is this burnout, or am I just growing out of idealistic youth?"
Isn’t it enough? No. Not ever.
How can services repair a family? They can’t. They can offer support for families who are dedicated to changing things. Nothing more. Sometimes not even that.
Is this burnout? Maybe. I go through that from time to time. But I also know that it takes a lot of forced optimism to work in a system like this one. Foster care is horrible. It’s better than orphanages, which are better than children living on the streets. That’s the best thing you can say about it. We, as humanity, can do better. It just might take us a while to figure out what “better” looks like.
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