Being a foster parent means your children hit milestones that are very different than the ones other kids hit growing up.
In a post shared to Reddit’s parenting forum, one dad told a sweet, simple story about the 6-year-old girl he’s currently fostering. His story managed to be both heartbreaking and joyful all at the same time. Not only did we learn that this damaged little child had already suffered so much in her life, but we also got a feeling for how far she’s come after just a very short time in a loving home with supportive parenting.
She’s six. She’s not had a good life so far and she has a lot of emotional issues. The last six weeks I’ve had her have been a battle, but she’s starting to see that I treat her far better than anyone ever has before and she’s become less and less withdrawn.
A few days ago she actually smiled when I picked her up from her first day back at school. I think she instinctively dreaded going home like before, and then she remembered that it’s me taking her home and she doesn’t have to fear the end of the school day any more. Kind of like how after finals week you wake up in a panic and then you get that blissful wave of relief that you don’t have to worry about that anymore.
Well for the first time I got solicited for physical affection. She wanted me to kiss her good night like the mom does in a picture book she read. I didn’t make a big deal and obliged. But after I turned out the light and closed the door I started crying.
Readers of the anonymous web forum were so moved by this father’s story that they started leaving messages of support and thanks.
“I’m a CPS social worker and stories like this are why I do what I do,” said the comment of one anonymous reader. “Thank you for sharing and thank you for opening your home to that girl. She is lucky to have you,” said another.
Being a parent is tricky enough, but parenting a child who’s been through traumatic life events is an even bigger challenge. Our hats are off to all of the devoted foster parents out there. When things get rough, and we’re sure they often do, remember that we are grateful to you for pouring love into the hearts of children who need it most.