If there is one group that gets consistently and abundantly overlooked, it's the children of foster families. The biological or adopted children already a part of the home.
This REALLY, REALLY, REALLY bothers me.
I've actually been racking my brain for ideas of how we could serve these specific children in very special ways, the children who assume the role of "foster siblings" and I would welcome any suggestions you may have!
While not only overlooked, these children sacrifice so much.
They sacrifice their parents time and attention.
They share their rooms...their toys....their clothing.
They see and hear things that they NEVER would have had they not been part of a foster family.
Sometimes they are forced to "grow up" a bit faster or face the often harsh realities of life at an age that may be too tender to understand.
Sometimes there are no answers to comfort their concerns.
They can sometimes be confused about the hows and whys of the foster system and even become afraid of the possibility of being taken away from their family.
They love unconditionally.
They learn compassion on levels that many adults may never obtain.
They see things clearly for what they are.
They allow themselves to maintain HOPE always.
They are a friend.
These children are a breath of fresh air and frankly, I am beyond proud and undeserving to be Mama to several of them.
While I could make a list of material "rewards" to shower on them, if I was asked what would have been most meaningful to my children during some of our most challenging moments as a foster family, they would all have chosen time with their daddy and I. Special "dates" where one of us would take one of the children somewhere special for some undivided attention. Something as simple as a visit to the ice cream shop or a movie or when one really needed some soaking time, an all day adventure to the local theme park. It was always remarkable the impact these times could have on our attitudes and ongoing function as a team. So, while I'm not sure how best to cultivate such, perhaps just as I mentioned yesterday, providing childcare for the other children in the home to allow for this type of getaway on a regular basis might be the greatest way to show support. I suppose tickets to a special event they could attend together might also be a fun contribution.
Either way, I think what is important is that these children also be made aware of their worth and importance. That they be reminded that their sacrifices are not unseen and that what they are doing truly does make a difference. I had a beautiful friend remind me of this during a very difficult time for our family and getting to share that message with my children was a healing encouragement to us all.
Sometimes, often times, it is the simplest things that have the most significant meaning and lasting impact. The simplest gestures that truly "Give Hope".
"Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do so little." - Edmund Burke