Formerly Fostered: The Search for Healing, Part 4: Helping Others Heal

For context, please see Part 1: Accepting the Angst, Part 2: Examining the Angst, and Part 3: Healing the Angst

From the end of Part 3 (Healing the Angst): I thoroughly believe that my healing journey is meant to help others along in their own journeys, and that as I do, my own healing moves forward, too. So, whether you are a foster kid (former or current) or you love one, I invite you to read and reflect on the following letter (written to my 6-year old self and the 30-something old self that sometimes still needs assurance). I pray if it is relevant, that this letter may serve to help you in your next step forward.


Dear One,

We are so happy that you have entered into our family. I know that joining us during this time means that you’re experiencing loss of another family, and that must be so hard. You are very strong to have endured such great loss. I know that sometimes you don’t feel strong, and that sometimes you get tired of people praising you for being so strong, and that sometimes you wish you had permission/ freedom to just be weak. Sad. Angry. Confused.

You can feel anything you want to feel with me.

I am not going to try to replace anyone from your life that you miss. I am not going to try to bury your sadness under a layer of forced gratitude for saving you. I am here to be your companion, and if you want me to be, your friend. I will listen to you if you want to speak, I will sit with you if you want to be silent, and I will hold you if you want to cry.

The thing I want you to hear over and over and over again (even if you aren’t sure you can believe it) is that you have infinite worth. You are worth being known, and feeling all that you feel, and being all that you are, and asking for what you need, and being loved without conditions. And I will love you from now until forever. Because now that I have met you and now that you are in my life, I cannot help but hope for everything good to come your way, for you to experience the best that this world has to offer, for you to know that you have something unique and wonderful to offer the world, for you to not only know but also to feel that you are loved and appreciated and desired. And no matter how long or short a time you live in the same home as I, I will love you for the rest of my life.

Love,

Your foster parent


Wrapping up the series:

If you yourself are a foster child (former or current) may you find the freedom to feel, the strength to forgive the parents and caregivers who messed up, the knowledge and feeling that you are loved, and the courage to change your life prospects to something brighter.

And if you are someone who loves a foster child (former or current), may you find the freedom to establish realistic and loving boundaries, the strength to listen to and validate any feelings of loss, and the courage to love without guarantees of reciprocation or permanence.

In fostering and being fostered, may you discover things about yourself that you never knew before, and may these new discoveries lead you to love stronger, deeper, better than you ever had before.