By this I mean older child adoption and foster care and it’s a good question. In fact while sitting on the phone with a fellow soldier (my kiddo’s former foster mom…) we were asking ourselves that very question. Why are we doing this again?
I will tell you this:
we don’t do it for money …we frequently work overtime and we are always on call. No… you can’t pay us enough for all the work we do.
we don’t do it for praise or for a thank you. There isn’t any coming. In fact we are often scrutinized by well meaning adults who feel it is their duty to inform us how exactly they would handle the situation with “cute beyond words little Johnny”. And I won’t tell what “cute beyond words little Johnny” says but here’s a hint: it isn’t thank you.
we don’t do it because we want more kids….have you seen the sitcom Eight is Enough? Do I really need to elaborate on this one?
The truth is the work is hard and exhausting and there are days when we wonder why we do this ourselves. We know the risks (yes we really do, we have heard the horror stories. We understand it can go horribly wrong and that all the love and help we can give may not be enough.)
But, if you and I were chatting over a cup of coffee and you asked me this I would tell you….
we do it for hope…we do it for the ones who might make it. We do it for dreams and for futures…
we do it because we are soldiers….we fight for them because they can’t do it for themselves and because we are afraid no one else will…
we do it because we are compelled….honestly we have no choice. We think of giving up but we can’t…God has burned into our hearts the need to do this thing, to become more than we were before so they can become all they were meant to be.
And if you and I were chatting over a cup of coffee (we really ought to do that sometime) I would quietly ask you if you know someone like me, a fellow soldier. If you do…take the time to understand. Educate yourself if you can. These precious, precious children often come in to our homes much like a wounded animal and like a wounded animal they snap at the ones who are desperately trying to help. We really do have a heart for these little ones but we are not able to parent them in the same way we would for non-traumatized kiddos. You may watch us and think we are over controlling or tough but to a child who has not been cared for or worse, abused…kindness is frightening. If I am too kind I appear weak and if I am weak they feel they must gain control. Often they do not feel empathy and do not react appropriately when they encounter it. It is hard to understand or even fathom but they respond best to strength and clear (even seemingly controlling) expectations. We must protect them and those they come in contact with and it is exhausting. Please be patient while we help them heal.