All of my little ones have a song (those who stay with us for a few months at least). When little Miss Z arrived, fussy and tiny I sang the first song that popped into my head to her, “You are Beautiful” by James Blunt. With not much memory, I didn’t remember all the words but it instantly calmed her and for the first time our eyes connected. Today the song came on the radio and I listened to it as the words swarmed through the car, “There must be an Angel with a smile on her face when she thought up I should be with you. But it’s time to face the truth…I will never be with you”
Talk about ripping out my heart. This beautiful girl, it’s true, it will be so hard to let you go. But I will have a smile on my face as I got to love you. I got to see your first smile and you won’t be a stranger to me. As a foster carer the comment I hear most, almost by EVERY single person is, “I couldn’t give them up” (or some variation).
It is really hard to respond to this comment. Does it make me a harsh, uncaring person because I can? Does it mean that my heart doesn’t break? Does it imply I do this for some other motivation? Probably not. The person is just honestly saying that it would be really hard for them. Not every one can be a foster carer, and for many it truly would break their heart and be almost irraparable to say goodbye to a child who has been in your care. But I do question if this is the case for the majority or if this is just an answer others have said and has become owned by society. Some kids are easier to say goodbye to (poo painters come to mind) and some kids you will never say goodbye to because they will stay in your home for much longer then anticipated. But Foster care is, and should be about helping a small person understand what is happening around them. Big, HUGE, problems that are far out of their control. These kids have already had to say goodbye to the one home that they have known. They didn’t get a choice in that. They have already lost so much. Going home is the goal. If it is safe (it isn’t always, and sometimes decisions are made that just shouldn’t be) then we celebrate the restoration of a family. We get to be the safe place, the place where they are told that they are beautiful, no matter what. That they find hope, despite the darkness. Where they see joy, in amongst the unknown. Where they are loved, even if they don’t know it then, they will know it one day.
So next time you meet a foster carer. Please don’t say “I couldn’t give them back”, instead wonder about where the child would be without the love and care of that carer, and then wonder what you could do. It might be just smiling at them both. It might be buying a coffee or delivering cookies so that the carer knows that they are ‘seen’. It may be taking the child out for a day. It may be making a call and starting to say ‘Yes, it will be hard to say goodbye, but what will I lose out on if I don’t say hello?’
“You’re beautiful. You’re beautiful.
You’re beautiful, it’s true.
I saw your face in a crowded place,
And I don’t know what to do,
‘Cause I’ll never be with you.
You’re beautiful. You’re beautiful.
You’re beautiful, it’s true.
There must be an angel with a smile on her face,
When she thought up that I should be with you.
But it’s time to face the truth,
I will never be with you.”