Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about or passing on kids, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that way.
Though many of us likely have some passing knowledge of how difficult the foster care system can be, this foster mom's post gets to the heart of what it's like for children in the system. Foster mom Sarah posted a message to her Facebook page, Foster Your Heart, detailing the way the court system works with foster children.
"I had to keep my hand on something because it was shaking," she wrote about her experience in court last week. "They all spoke like it was a legal procedure and nothing more. No compassion."
"Does anyone want the child?" she recalled hearing during the hearing process. "Are you sure? Nobody? Ok, we will be back in a few weeks and finish paperwork."
"Meanwhile said 'child' is a boy I care very much about," she continued. "A boy sitting next to me hearing every word. A boy who is trying to wipe away the hot tear rolling down his cheek."
Sarah went on to describe the high standards that foster kids are held to — standards that they often see very little benefit from.
"We ask them to act like respectful members of society," she wrote. "But we drop them off at strangers homes with everything they own in trash bags and then have them sit through court hearing that would shake any adult. They have to hear nobody wants them or the few people that might are not fit. Then we drop them off at school to handle these emotions. And shake our heads when they are expelled again. We tell them to stay out of trouble and label them as bad kids for outbursts of anger and frustration."
Since Sarah posted her message on Facebook last week, it has gone viral, with over 46,000 shares at the time of writing. She told Scary Mommy that she and her husband found out about the reality of the foster system when they began researching adoption and foster-to-adoption options.
"Once you see that need you can’t unseen it," she told Scary Mommy. "You see the faces and hear the voices of children in your town needing safety and stability and love. And it starts consuming your thoughts."
As she explained, children in foster care desperately need love and support, and though being a foster parent is difficult, it can be extremely worthwhile. As she told Scary Mommy, "these kids need love more than you need to protect your heart."