A Letter from a Foster Mom

A Letter from a Foster Mom

I am very excited and proud to present the following guest post. Zella Kintsugi is the biological mother of three, the adoptive mother of two, and the foster mother of two.  She and her husband have been involved with foster care and adoption since 2014. 

A Letter from a Foster Mom

I do not have it all figured out. I lose my temper. I use words I should not at times that are likely not appropriate. I am not kind, loving, and generous in every situation in which I find myself. I argue with my husband. I can be selfish and rude. I am a sinner and every single day I require grace and mercy and forgiveness.

“There is no perfect formula for this process.”

My heart hurts when people praise me for being a foster mom. My soul cries out when people say, “How can you do it?  I could never do that!”  Or “You and your husband are saints… seriously.”  We aren’t.  I’m not.  I am a Christian, wife, mother, daughter, sister, niece, cousin, friend, patient, aspiring author, many things… But not a saint.

I have faced trauma and loss and it’s broken me. My own life has many broken pieces, held together by the glue that is God’s grace.  I still have moments where I am not a strong warrior for children, for my family – but a cowering young girl broken at the hands of men filled with evil.  I still fight wars in my dreams, thrashing against evils that haunt me there.

You see, that is why I am called to foster and adopt God’s broken children. I am a broken child of His. I am that shattered piece of pottery now made more beautiful by the gold and silver poured over and into the cracks like a healing balm. My brokenness is my strength because I am a new creation.

Please hear this too: Brokenness is not required. Rising from the ashes of trauma does not magically equip you to parent brokenness.  Sometimes it makes it harder to parent children trying to heal. It can make it harder to keep your trauma from resurfacing rather than keeping it stored neatly in that sealed and industrial strength duct-taped box labeled “pain” in the center of your brain.  There is no perfect formula for this process.

Children in care (and even those who aren’t) don’t need whatever stereotype we see on brochures, Facebook ads, Instagram, or TV.  They need us.  All of us.  Young, old, broken, whole, strong, and weak. They need people who are willing to stand with them and wage war on the evil plaguing their lives. They need people who are willing to stand and say, “Yes, this may make things harder for me for a while… but you are worth it!”

“Every one of us is called to make this world a place where children can be safe.”

Friends and family, the children in our communities need us.  They need you to open your hearts and eyes and see the things God has equipped you to do.  They need you to reach out and serve them.  Every. Single. Person. has a gift that makes them special, and I believe that every day we make a choice to use or waste that gift.

I understand that not everyone will be called to open their home to foster children as a foster or adoptive parent.  But every one of us is called to make this world a place where children can be safe and loved and know Jesus.  Pray for your heart to be softened and opened to the needs of your brothers and sisters around you.  Society says success is measured in the things we have and the wealth we acquire.  God says our wealth and success is not measured by treasures stored up here but in how we live our lives and how our lives are positively impacting and reaching others with His selflessness, love and grace.

Here are some ways you can help:

Become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate).  Visit kids in their foster homes, take them for ice cream or to the park, the beach, for a hike or a movie.  Then, write reports about your observations and experiences with the kids and bio family for the judge and advocate for that child in writing and in the courtroom.

Offer to babysit for FREE for a family so foster parents can get a much needed break to continue connecting and strengthening their marriage and family.  Babysit for a single foster parent so they have some time for self care and renewing their spirit to continue their work for these kiddos.  Offer to run new foster kids around to all of the mandatory appointments they have in the first few days after placement.

If you quilt/sew:  Make blankets for kids going into care and put a label on the back with your name and a message of encouragement, hope and love for a child who may be feeling lost, alone and without hope for the moment.

If you enjoy cooking:
Bless a foster family with a meal or two when they receive a new placement and free them up to help that child settle into their home.

Also, go by your local DCS office and take them something thoughtful to say, “You have an impossible job and are often the ‘bad guy’ in so many stories but we see you trying your best to protect children who need it.  We also understand it’s a government agency and there are times your hands are tied by policy and your heart hurts because of the choices and actions required in your job description.”

If you have the ability to organize community events:
Organize a fun, structured event for foster kids and their foster families to have fun and make memories together.  We went to a sponsored Pro baseball game in Phoenix one time and our daughter was so blessed by seeing other kids in care and knowing she wasn’t alone and also that there was a community showing support for ‘kids like her’ (her words).

If you see an amazing sale on baby care items (diapers, wipes, car seats, clothes, or shoes):  Buy as many as you can afford and take them to DCS or a local agency to be donated to struggling parents trying to make ends meet and not have their kids removed or maybe working like crazy to get them back.  Do the same and take them by a homeless shelter/women’s shelter or if you have one, a community foster family closet.

Make duffle bags filled with essentials for kids of different ages who may have only had a few minutes to gather their things into a trash bag and leave their home.

There are so many things we can do to help children in need.  Be a voice, advocate, care for, love on, donate time, services, money. Be the Light in a hurting world… and start with your neighbors.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – MLK Jr.

Two kids walking

 May is National Foster Care Month! Learn more here.

4 Replies to “A Letter from a Foster Mom”

  1. What a beautiful article that shows that sainthood isn’t a prerequisite for fostering, all it requires is a heart that asks “God, how do you want to use me to help these precious children?” The recommendations for those who aren’t called to foster are also wonderful. You can help, I can help, and sometimes it requires so much less than you think.

  2. thanks for sharing not only your story, but ways everyone can help. I will be looking into some of your suggestions. God bless you and your family.

    1. Yes! I love all the suggestions this mom gave for ways to help out. Thanks for the comment and for your support of foster families, Pat! 🙂

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