I hate to admit it, but sometimes as a foster parent, you do feel jealousy towards your foster child’s real family, especially if you’ve had the child for a long time. Unless you have a heart of stone, you are bound to start to love a child if they are part of your life for a large chunk of time. What’s worse is that it can really hurt your feelings when that child seems to prefer their own relatives over you, even though those relatives abuse, neglect or even ignore said child.
It isn’t logical, but most kids have a great sense of loyalty to their biological families. It doesn’t matter how many times their family members have let them down or how badly they are treated, they still love their family with the kind of passion that is usually only given to flesh and blood.
To watch this scenario play out again and again is heartbreaking to the foster parents who are there for these children to pick up the pieces every time their family lets them down. It is infuriating to be taken for granted by these children, only to have them praise the family who is the cause of their problems.
After feeding, clothing, loving, protecting and listening to a child for a long period of time, you would think they would start to see that they have it good and that they should appreciate your efforts. Unfortunately, if you expect them to show that appreciation while they are still in your home, you will likely be disappointed much of the time. Perhaps once they are adults they will see things more clearly and truly grasp what you have done for them, but don’t let it get you down if they don’t always do that as children.
Most of these kids will be loving and eager to please their birth families, but will give you all of the anger and hurt they feel inside. They will take it out on you when their family members lie to them. They will believe their family members even when all evidence is against them. If the birth families decide to try and make their child mad at you, they normally succeed and then you have to deal with that on top of everything. I think some biological families pit their kids against their foster parents because they feel jealousy as well.
Fostering is not for the faint of heart, it’s irritating, infuriating, heartrending, depressing, disappointing, and perhaps most of all, physically and emotionally exhausting at times. You will be yelled at, mistreated, misjudged, accused of ridiculous things and your feelings will be crushed. So why keep doing it? Because you love these kids. Because you want to make a difference. Because you know what it’s like to be hurt and confused. Or maybe, just because you have a passion for it and you love it despite all the drawbacks.
As a fellow foster mom here in the Dayton area recently told me, “I wonder why I keep doing this. These kids yell and scream at me, they curse me, they call me a liar and accuse me of stuff I would never do, they criticize every move I make, they throw the love and affection I give them back in my face, and sometimes they even physically hurt me. I must be crazy to put up with it, but I just can’t stop. My heart tells me to keep doing it, even when my mind begs me to give it up. Love is a funny thing.”
Amen to that.