Posted by: fosteringcare | July 27, 2010

The Letter

          All of the conflicting emotions I had been ignoring, telling myself they were unreasonable, were finally bubbling to the surface. I honestly don’t remember what had caused my parents to call a “family meeting” that night, but I do remember the anger welling up in me as we began. When one of my foster sisters said something about being tired of me telling her what to do, that was the proverbial straw, I was done.  Never having given my true feelings a voice, there on the brink of erupting, I could not find the words for anything that was going through my head. Sobbing, I ran from the dining room table, grabbed my notebook and purse and left for my babysitting job two hours early. Since my job was right around the corner I walked down the street, sat on the curb and started to write my parents a letter. I poured out everything, three years of everything. I began by making sure they knew that I understood the value of our being a foster family, how blessed we were to not have had to live through what they had and was thankful for the differences we had made in kids lives. Then I went on to pour out the hurt in my heart. All the mixed-up, pent-up emotions were finally released. Twelve pages later, I was purged. My parents, on the other hand, were just realizing the extent of how deeply things were really affecting me. I got home, left the letter on the counter for them, and went to bed.

          By this time, my mother had become a “foster parent trainer” and taught some of the classes for prospective foster families. After reading my letter and having some pretty deep, heart to heart talks about it with me, she realized that this needed to be addressed during the training process. Parents needed to know beforehand some of the possible feelings their birth children could have in response to long-term placements. She asked my permission to read the letter during class and then began having me come with her to answer their questions. Hearing my letter and hearing my answers seemed to encourage the families in training to discuss more deeply the impact it would have on their own children. Focussing not only how much they’d be helping a foster child, but on the sacrifices and emotions that would come while they stayed with them. Acknowledging that at some point everyone involved would feel resentment and would wonder if they made the right choice when they opened their home. Possibly preparing  them a little more by making sure they knew that those feelings were normal and ok. I truly enjoyed speaking to the classes and answering the questions, but still the foster sisters came, and with each one, a whole new set of issues and emotions.

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