A dear friend of mine has her first foster placement, also an infant, and we’ve been swapping stories and questions and encouragement. Last week the first hurtful interaction happened with the birth mom, and this week something happened between me and the birth mom of our little dude. As a foster mother, it’s so easy to take things personally, to hurry down an anxiety spiral, to be angry, or to want to retaliate or defend.
Sorry about the concerns from birth mom. That’s the worst part of it for me. Are you feeling okay? Take deep breaths. Don’t always believe everything they complain about (actually, hardly ever is it true). Bryce sometimes has to talk me off an “I’m failing him and DCS is going to come after me” ledge.Me to my friend in our text conversation last week
It’s really amazing how far God has brought me in the last nine years. Six years ago, an interaction happened with a birth mom that left me reeling and disheartened. Looking back, it really wasn’t too significant, but in the moment my heart was broken and I contemplated giving up on foster care altogether. But God has done a good work in me.
Oh I so understand. It’s the worst. I constantly have to remind myself that the birth parents are usually just grasping at some way to feel in control and have some sort of power as it pertains to their children, since everything has been stripped from them. So, if you can, turn the hurt to prayer for her and absorb the pain for Jesus’ sake.
Do the feelings of hurt or betrayal or defensiveness still come? Of course. But I don’t spiral like I used to. My thoughts have been trained over the years to consider where the birth parent is coming from, how they must be struggling, and to think through how I could ease their concerns. I sincerely cannot imagine the pain of losing a child and watching another mother care for your own. Therefore, I cannot fault their attempts at control, perhaps (often) fueled by their own trauma and life-pain.
And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. . . . “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.”Matthew 10:22 & 24 (NKJV)
As foster mothers, it is our honor to share the pain of the birth parents, to pray for and to support them. We carry their pain with compassion, because of Jesus.
Here are a couple of strategies that helped my heart do this better over the years:
- Turn the hurt from the birth parents to specific, verbal prayers for the birth parents
- Talk to a fellow foster mama who understands and will let you vent, but who will also encourage you to still keep on loving and serving
- Meditate on and pray through Romans 12
- Make a conscious choice not to let you mind go into a cycle of anxiety, choosing compassion instead (good resource: Get Out of Your Head by Jennie Allen)
It is hard. Big hugs. You are doing good work.