I know what the “good” foster parent role is supposed to look like. We’re supposed to be actively working toward getting Charlie “home” to his biological family. We’re supposed to cheer for the parents and truly believe that this plan is in his best interest.
But some days (perhaps even most?), I struggle to believe it. Can his parents truly be rehabilitated? Could they really change their lives around? Could they be the best parents for him?
We’ve been told over and over and over that sometimes kids go back home, and it’s not the best option, but it’s a good enough option. Hypothetically speaking, it makes sense. We can’t make sure that children are always in their best possible home, so good enough will have to do, sometimes.
But these children are not hypothetical numbers or statistics. They are living, breathing humans. And after 10 days with Charlie, after changing his diaper a dozen times a day, after feeding him around the clock, after soothing him when he cries, after kissing his little cheeks, good enough doesn’t actually feel good enough.
It feels like crap.
As the foster parent, I’m supposed to not only care for this child, but also believe in the parents. But some days (most days?!), I just can’t do it. I feel like I need to step out of the ring and declare a conflict of interest. The tension feels impossible to reconcile. Can I actually care for, defend, and protect this child AND also believe in the parents who did not care for, defend, or protect their own child?
What is wrong with our world, with our society, that we are okay with sending kids back to homes that are just good enough? We would never stand sending our own kids to live in these circumstances, but when we’ve reduced these children to numbers, to statistics, we pretend like we can’t do better—that we’re trying our best.
I’m just going to go ahead and call the bluff. Foster homes shouldn’t be overflowing, struggling to meet the needs of children with special needs. Children’s Aid shouldn’t be lacking volunteers, foster homes, and resources. If we cared enough, we’d do more. Good enough isn’t actually good enough until it’s the best possible option out there.
Because we can do better, and we aren’t doing our best.
#fostercare #journalentry #Charlie #biologicalfamily #ChildrensAid