"Hey, E, what do you think about Mrs. Erin?"
"I feel freshy..."
"Umm... What does freshy mean?"
"It means... I love her."
"What do you love most about Mrs. Erin?"
"Everything. And giving her kisses!"
People, the majority of the time, tell me that they couldn't do what I do when it comes to foster care. They couldn't love and care for a child for a season, and then let them go. I, however, beg to differ...
I have an amazing group of friends. Some I know from church, work, school, and some from other random ways. All, of them, however, have accepted E into their lives without question and without hesitation. From Sarah K. who dotes on E at every turn, to Kim L. who has taught E how to splash every mud puddle he sees in his immediate vicinity. (Been meaning to thank you for that, Kim.), they all love him and show him that love freely.
One friend, Erin H. (well, now it's Erin P.), has kept E for me when he was sick and I had to work. Not only has she done me that huge favor ("flavor" as E calls it), but she has also gone out of her way to spend time with E, like picking him up from daycare and hanging out with him, just as a special treat. These things she does knowing full well that in a short time from now, she will say goodbye to this child and more than likely never see him again.
If you know a child in care, please know that every moment you spend pouring into their lives is a moment they will very likely remember and keep with them... always. Children in foster care are prone to low self-esteem issues. Imagine that you are ripped out of your home; away from your parents, siblings, toys, pets, bed, clothes... everything. The majority of kids not only have adjustment issues (wouldn't you?), but they also place every bit of blame for their situation on themselves! Can you imagine feeling that you were the cause of ripping your family apart?
We, as foster parents, have the responsibility of caring for these children and helping them heal from their hurts... which includes dealing with their low self-esteem and misplaced blame. You, as friends of foster parents, have the responsibility of showing these children love and acceptance so that when they're asked about what they think about you, they will reply, "Freshy!" You are loving them for the season, and showing them that they are worth the effort...