Foster Parents – The Real Hero’s

Huffington Post are currently doing a series called Portrait Of Adoption, with the intention of “giving a voice to  people with widely varying experiences, including birthparents, adoptees, adoptive parents, foster parents, waiting adoptive parents and others touched by adoption.”

It has been a fascinating series to follow, revealing the complexities of adoption and all the emotions and pitfalls from all the different angles. I have found myself identifying with so many of the varying opinions and experiences.

But one story in particular really stuck out for me – Saying Goodbye To The Foster Child I Fell In Love With. I identified with Jiyer on a deep emotional level and read her story with tears streaming down my face and a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach.

Throughout our 7+ year struggle to the ever elusive place of parenthood, Walter and I were presented with opportunities to parent a child.  On a number of occasions were approached to adopt privately and on one particular occasion we were invited to participate in a foster program through a welfare organisation in Pretoria. We spoke at length with one of their foster mom’s making the decision to not pursue this option.  She had 4 children with her, all of them had been with her since babies, all of them removed from their bio parents but with the bio parents refusing to sing consent for adoption, essentially leaving the foster family to live in limbo, free to love and care for these children with all their hearts but always living under the threat that they could loose one of their precious children.

I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t put my heart out there and run the risk of having it crushed. By the time this opportunity had presented itself, we’d already just barely survived 7 miscarriages, my heart was broken, my soul was broken and I could not take another moment of hurt. I couldn’t bring myself to put myself out there for the greater good of offering this little children some stability and love, I couldn’t do it. I knew that if we took a child in, I’d love it unconditionally as if it was my own and what would happen if/when they were reunified with their bio parents? Because for all intents and purposes, rehabilitation of their bio parents was the plan, then what, where would that leave us? Where would that leave my poor, broken, bleeding soul?

I couldn’t do it.

This is for me just another example of  how I’m not an adoption hero, just a woman who wanted to be a mom, because I wasn’t prepared to take motherhood at any cost, because I still wanted a little safety net and to protect my heart.

When I read this I knew that Jiyer, her husband and all foster parents, are the true hero’s in adoption stories:

August 22, 2008: a hard day for our family, a day of joy for Rayna. Nina was distressed, so distressed, when she saw all her belongings in luggage and boxes (I packed them late the previous night, while she slept, because my earlier attempt was so traumatic to her). Dropping Nina off at a county center that morning was heart-wrenching. This child whom we loved with all our hearts, we so hoped to entrust directly to her mother, Rayna, with whom we had built a good relationship over the past thirteen months. Yet the social worker said they could not permit this and risk drama. When we arrived at the center, we were told to leave Nina in the playroom, all by herself, and depart. Rayna would come by later to pick her up. I will never forget Nina sitting by the wall, patting the space next to her and saying to me, “It, Mama, It.” (she could not say S’s back then, so “Sit” became “It”). I held her very, very close, hoping that the lifetime of love within me would work its way into her little body. “I love you, Nina,” I said fiercely. “I will always love you, OK?” “Be happy, Stay happy,” said Dyl as he followed with a hug for the daughter of his heart. As we headed toward our truck, our empty truck devoid of Nina’s things, we held each other and cried -– huge, broken sobs, mourning the loss in our lives.

Read the full story here, it’s well worth the read –

Saying Goodbye To The Foster Child I Fell In Love With


  • Pandora

    January 18, 2013 at 11:50 am

    I have to agree on all counts. We are not hero’s for adopting either. We wanted to be parents. After also hearing a foster mom in our church recount their experience of fostering a child for more than 10 years, then having to return him to his bio mom and being allowed no further contact at all, I knew I could not do that. It takes special people to foster. I read the above story and it is heart breaking. Just that little extract you have can make me cry all over again. I cannot imagine going through that. I am in awe of foster parents that can so love achild that needs it even though they know it is temporary.

  • Lise

    January 18, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Whew. If you are going to post things like this, they need to come with a warning to not read at work. I went and read the rest of the story. Absolutely amazing, what incredible people.

  • Beth

    January 18, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Wow, what an emotionally fraut story. I cant help but shed a tear for their loss, for Rayna’s success and reunification with her daughter and the selfless act of staying in contact.

    I have friends who were fostering a little boy, the courts ordered he be placed back with his mom but she still drops him back at his foster parents when money runs out or she needs a babysitter. I can’t imagine the difficulties and heartache of being a foster parent. You’re right, they are heros.

  • Denise

    January 18, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    We fostered jaden for 2 years before adopting him and I can honestly say that the thought of losing him was with us each and every day. It was hard and no I wouldn’t do that agaIn but I’m no hero. I’m just a mom. We all are however we get there we just deal with what crosses our paths as it happens.

    All parents IMO do the best they know how every day whether they are bio, adoption or foster parents.

  • Shelly

    January 18, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    I grew up in a home where my parents fostered 12 children at different times in our lives. Some of the children were there for a short time (a place of safety) and others were there for a long time – a couple of years. I remember when the out last foster sister left to live with her biological grandparents. We were told on the Friday she was leaving on the Monday. She had been with us since she was 18 months old. She was 6 when she left.. I often still wonder how she is, what she has done with her life where she is.. That was very hard for me as a child to come to terms with.
    My mom couldn’t have any more children after four late term losses, me born at 900 grams and a hystorectomy at 24. As much as it was a heartache for her to love and loose the foster children – they brought her a huge amount of joy. When I was 12, finally my parents were blessed and the adoption order went through for my little sister!
    If I had not gone through the “getting used to” letting go – I dont think I would have been able to have done a surrogacy. That was my way of fostering.. Looking after someones baby and returning the child when the child was able to survive without a uterus. “Fostering a fetus”
    Fostering may not be easy, but it is a huge blessing to both the foster parents and the foster children!

  • tolovebella

    January 20, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Shazz – long before Travs and I met, before we were first married and before all our IF hideousity (I love making up words), I ALWAYS admired people who could foster. It was something that I just was not able to comprehend being able to do. I become attached within a heartbeat and I think that it would break me. I suppose, though, going into something like that, you have the realisation that the situation is temporary and you could become guarded. But STILL……


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