For the better part of five decades, I have worked with foster parents, which California has now re-branded as resource parents. These extraordinary, unique individuals have certainly left an indelible, positive imprint on my life.
I am not sure I have the skills to craft an appropriate expression of the gratitude I have for those who have turned their homes and lives into sanctuaries, hospitals, safe havens, classrooms and sometimes even battlefields for our children and youth (and not without costs). But here I go.
Thank you for the courage to welcome a stranger into your home with little to no knowledge of who they are or what impact they will make.
Thank you for being driven by the hope and faith that you can make a positive difference in the life of a child or youth.
Thank you for allowing your values and world views to be challenged by a young person coming from a very different place in life than your own.
Thank you for understanding the damaging impact of childhood trauma, and making every effort to help foster children and youth heal.
Thank you for putting your family stability, harmony and relationships at risk for the sake of a child not your own.
Thank you for dealing with disappointments by getting right back on the horse and marching full steam ahead.
Thank you for taking in children and youth, at all hours of the night, under crazy circumstances and much uncertainty.
Thank you for putting your lives “under the microscope,” in essence, living in a glass house under the scrutiny of so many agency eyes.
Thank you for going to battle with schools, doctors, social workers, probation officers, even neighbors, as an advocate for your kids.
Thank you for many nights of little to no sleep as you have served as a comforter, consoler or watchdog.
Thank you for magically making the limited reimbursement you receive stretch far enough to make sure your children’s needs are met.
Thank you for being the “Transporter”– running kids here, there and everywhere.
Thank you for altering your home and lifestyle in order to comply with licensing and safety regulations.
Thank you for working within a challenging licensing system which can automatically assume you are “guilty” of any complaint until proven otherwise.
Thank you for participating in lots and lots of training, and also for seeking advice when you need it most.
Thank you for traveling the “extra mile” and more – over and over and over…
Thank you for laying out your life story – the good and the bad– in plain view, in order to become a foster parent.
Thank you for participating in team meetings, individual education planning, case debriefings, attending court and all of the extra activities that come bundled in with your foster child.
Thank you for your creativity and all the amazing, fun ideas and activities you come up with to help your foster children.
Thank you for filling out lots of forms, saving receipts, completing logs, maintaining secure files and records, and conducting all of the other “administrative” duties required of foster parents.
Thank you for asking for emergency help and assistance when needed.
Thank you for being the “first responder” to the multiple emergencies and crises with your foster children.
Thank you for being a counselor, a tutor, a coach, a friend and a role model to your children and teens.
Thank you for letting your home become “Grand Central Station” with so many workers intruding into your space.
Thank you for being a wonderful, willing team player.
Thank you for loving the unlovely, healing the hurt, guiding the lost and correcting inappropriate behavior.
Thank you for staying connected with your foster children, long after they have left your home.
Thank you for being one of the most significant, lifelong influences in the life of a foster child or youth.
Thank you for being Mom or Dad when you didn’t need to be!