There are all sorts of possible ways to serve others – providing humanitarian aid, serving cancer patients and helping the elderly are just some examples. For us, it is fostering – providing a home for children who can’t live with their biological parents for certain periods of time. And we must be honest – it is far from easy.
It is Challenging…
Our journey as foster parents began ten years ago, and we have discovered that every child is different and comes with his or her own set of challenges. Babies and infants arrive with little emotional baggage, but sleepless nights and physically demanding days are to be expected. Older children don’t require round-the-clock care, but are likely to present various emotional and behavioral issues. Often, it is the older children who aren’t as easy to love. Throwing temper tantrums, throwing food, screaming their lungs off are just some challenges we have faced. With all the pain they have gone through, a lack of trust in their new family isn’t unusual. It is precisely their unwillingness to receive our help that makes it difficult to help them, especially in the initial stages. Yet, it is these older children who really need a loving home. They need a family who can provide genuine care and is stronger than them emotionally so as to handle their various issues. We also need the ability to balance kindness with firmness, especially since we know they are hurting deep inside, and may try to outsmart us at times.
But It’s All Worth It
Despite the challenges fostering may present, we are thankful to be on this journey. Fostering has added meaning and purpose to our lives, where we get to serve others and give of ourselves to them. As we focus on the important things, we no longer get caught up with unnecessary concerns about storing up wealth or getting ahead in life. Our own son has also realized how fortunate he is and has learnt not to take the things he has for granted. When the going gets tough, as it often does, we remind ourselves that we have made a commitment to persevere no matter what. When our foster children give us a difficult time, we grit our teeth and walk with them. When we are tempted to compare ourselves with our peers, we choose to focus on what we have and not what we are missing out on. This is why we firmly believe that potential foster parents must not have a rosy outlook of fostering. We must go in with both eyes open, so that we will not give up halfway when things get rough.
These children have in some way been given up on before, and we must not reinforce any feelings of abandonment they may have developed. Many people have asked us why we keep fostering when it seems so tough. The reason is simply that we can’t turn our backs on these children once we hear of their situation. For as long as we are able to, we hope to keep our home open to those who are in need.
Raymond & Lynette have fostered five children thus far, and have a son of their own. They would love to continue helping more foster children, as long as they have the resources to do so.