Foster: to help something grow or develop, to nuture

I never seem to be able to understand the cruelty of man, nor do I really want to. For in that understanding, it would forever change me. My beloved saw such cruelty as a child until he reached his majority. It made him not a cruel, but a kind man. He taught me the value of mercy, not getting what you deserve. I struggle with extending mercy where it is not deserved. I cannot save every child, just the ones brought into my life by plan or circumstance.

This weekend one that “got away” returned. I will call her Grace, she is graceful and in spite of all that has happened to her, kind and tenderhearted and more than a little bit gullible. I worked with her as a young girl but, she had so many years of damage. She had been in the foster system for years due to serious abuse and had several siblings. Her little sister was kept with her. The foster parents were train wrecks. (Thank you to the good ones out there!) They could pass a home inspection; answer all the test questions and looked good on paper. The constant verbal abuse and the difference made between the “good” biological children and the two girls was devastating. Would you be surprised to learn that both girls made bad life choices and have trouble with relationships? The little sister is strung out on drugs and bad relationships. Grace hit relationship bottom after three children and their parental abduction by the father. Grace is working with the police to find her children but decided to travel three states to come “home” to the last place she felt truly loved and accepted. I am so glad she did. She had one or two friends in town, my adult daughter and me. She remembered the kindness here and returned to us. I am a flawed person and to quote Patsy Clairmont, “God Uses Cracked Pots”! I hope we can make a difference for this one who needs to be loved on. I pray that God covers my mistakes with grace and mercy so we can find a way to help this beautiful woman to be happy.

Grace is actually the child who sparked a writing project of mine I’m passionate about. A guide for young adults who are about to or have “aged out” of the foster system. There is so much that they miss out on and don’t know. Their time was spent worrying about safety, where they would sleep, what they would eat, attending hearings or court sessions. They didn’t learn the how-to’s that you would expect them to know. Grace learned how to properly fit a bra at age 24, after three children, while we were shopping last night. I looked at her feet and realized, another day, too much for today. She was overwhelmed.

I hope this post travels far and you can comment on what basic things you wish you had been taught, even if you were never in the foster system. My beloved encouraged me to write this because he was raised in extreme poverty and saw many similarities in missed education and training as he tried to figure out what was normal and what he needed to know to be successful.

I would love to consider your comments to add to my guide: shopping, economics, personal hygiene, balancing a checkbook, food preparation, clothing, relationships, etc. Sometimes it is the little details that can derail you in life and keep the better opportunities away. Many foster children do not even realize they have missed the opportunities because they don’t know and there is no one to tell them. Your experiences could help someone. Thanks!

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Filed under Family Times, Foster, Writing

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