Our beautiful mess
I knew from the very beginning that I wanted birth moms to know I was hoping for their success.
I met my son's birth mom when he was one and a half years old. We were in court, listening to the judge declare that her parental rights had been permanently terminated. She lost 5 kids that day. Both her and I sat as the judge listed off each child’s full name. I knew and still know all of them. I watched her crumble that day. She was given permission to speak with me. I can’t remember our conversation, but I’ll always remember how raw and real that day felt. Emotional and messy. Every victory in foster care or in an adoption also includes a loss. As a foster parent, you get to see all of it. That was was the day I realized there is a much bigger picture.
Fast forward 5 years later and I consider my children’s birth moms to be an important part of our lives. We are the moms. The women who make my kids who they are. Each of us in different ways but each so crucial. Strong. Beautiful. Able. It’s a beautiful balance of the women who gave our kids life and me...the woman who gets to show them how to live life. Our differences can be used to shape them, which are often special similarities that they naturally share with the kids. And our similarities make it fun. Our common bond is our children and the deep love we share for them. And now a love a appreciation for each other.
I realize this can’t always be the outcome. There are many situations where this would not be healthy and would not be in the best interest of the child...even dangerous. Which is why I value our story, and I have had the privilege of sharing it with a group of foster parents. No matter what, whether the relationship gets to exist with other birth parents in the future or not. I can always choose to speak in a way that honors a birth parent of any child that enters our home. It’s been a process for sure. For each of them. Definitely for myself. And for the kids. It’s been uncomfortable, confusing, and messy. A lot of tears. It has taken a lot to get to where we are at. A lot of winging it as we go. But aren’t the most beautiful parts of life usually the ones that start out messy and uncomfortable? I don’t want to miss out on that. I’m ok with the uncomfortable if it means I get to live life to the fullest through love and relationships. My hope is that my family can continue to be a story that encourages others.
What is one small reform you think would benefit the foster care community?
A better bridge between foster parents and birth parents. The required classes to become a foster parent could help in this area by teaching more on healthy ways to conduct ourselves around birth parents and by Sharing more of the success stories that we often don’t get to hear. Our county will sometimes have a birth parent share their story for a class so they can hear the success and see them as a person who changed, instead of someone to fear. Which is a much too common feeling for foster parents.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is Tiffany. My husband and I have been foster parents for 7 years in California. Our family is made of adopted, biological, and foster kids. And it’s never boring!