If another person tells me, “You are a saint! What you are doing for that girl is just so wonderful,” I might punch them. Or breathe fire. Or cry. Or, as usual, awkwardly smile and look at them for a second too long and try to think of something to say before I mutter something like “we think she’s great,” and wander off.
It’s not that I can’t take a compliment.
It’s that it’s not about me, and I don’t know how to communicate that.
Wrangling conversations about a foster child can be an art – it takes intention and forethought to keep it positive (about milestones & weight gain checks) when the curious world wants to know what’s going on! I can’t blame them. It’s interesting! You can’t make up stories like these ones.
But I’m furious with myself and with the world because while we understand that children in foster care are indeed victims, there’s some sort of misunderstanding about foster parents. We’re perceived as heroes, but the thing is, I don’t have any sort of superpowers! This work is messy. Some days I am downright pathetic! I often feel totally unequipped, completely worthless, and shocked by my own emotional roller coaster.
I guess I’m glad you notice what we’re doing, but I’d rather not have you place me on a pedestal. I have poor balance and will probably fall. Our foster care work is about Jesus and following him. Sacrificing for the innocent & broken-hearted. Simply because He loves me, and I love Him, and I want to give up my comfort. My schedule. My sleep (God, I really don’t like giving up my sleep at all and you know it! Forgive my weakness.). I want to give up everything and live like Him!
And while it’s true that there are non-Christian foster families, I am here only because of Jesus. God created me with a deep love for children, and I’m ashamed to say I often try to suppress it so I can do “real work” (read: make money). But when I’m living on mission, I am living with kids on my mind, and it really can be SO fun.
I just don’t know what the right words are to take the focus off me when I’m in a conversation with someone. I don’t want to sound rude or weird or anything in between. “Well, Jesus called me to it so that’s that.” “If you loved Jesus, you’d be doing it too!” “To God be the glory!”
Honestly, this post isn’t going to end with some sort of conclusion about the best way to phrase it. It’s going to take me time to figure it out.. I just hope I don’t punch any well-meaning onlookers in the meantime.
Related Post: Fostering Sweet Baby Girl