I recently talked to the pregnant respite teen‘s foster mom. She casually mentioned that the teen was pregnant (Duh!) and said “this isn’t what we bargained for“…. really? A 17 year old girl in foster care who has been in the system since infancy and disrupted from her adoptive home and placed in residential care? You couldn’t fathom that she would be pregnant at 17 years old by her abusive boyfriend? Really? Its almost predictable in my book.

That said, “An 11 year old boy, beaten brutally by his father on numerous occasions (requiring hospitalization), followed by 13 placements in 8 years with multiple disruptions?” And you thought you could handle that? Really? It should have been predictable.

The demons that we face as foster parents are unimaginable. There is no “perfect” foster child. Each comes with their own trauma history, their own set of negative behaviors and their own pain. They also come with their own hope and their own strengths. As foster parents, they need our guidance. They need our nurturing. They need our advocacy.

I am not sure that any amount of training could have prepared me for this journey. I came into this process filled with hope, and while I have learned an immeasurable amount and have faced countless challenges, I am no less hopeful today than I was on that very first day. Maybe it’s better that we didn’t know what was in store for us. If we had been scared away, we would be missing one of the greatest blessings of our lives!

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