I once worked with a youth who had been in the same foster home for about two years. By the time I joined the youth’s team, he was tired of being in his foster home and wanted to be reunited with his family. For those of us who got the honor of meeting this young man, we got to experience his joy and humor--he was a very happy young person to interact with. When I met him he’d already waited a long time and had done a lot of work to reunify with his family. And he had already waited a long time for his parents to do the work they needed to do in order for the whole family to move towards reunification.
All of us on the team were rooting for this family to be successful. We wanted this young man to have a safe place to call home and to be able to live with his family. The parents had acknowledged that they had made mistakes in the past, and they were doing everything they could to make up for them. Working with this family, I got to see first hand how close knit they were. And I understood that all this kid really wanted was to be with his family. He had interacted with a bunch of different foster siblings during his stay, but was missing the company of his own sibling. He had amazing foster parents who welcomed him into their home and supported him, however he really wanted to be with his own parents.
I’ve seen a lot of foster kids lose hope about being reunited with their families again. They lose faith in their parents, which they then internalize. This is seen in how they view themselves, in their behaviors, and in how they present themselves and interact with others. They may go looking for a family in other areas that are not always the most healthy.
Being on this family’s team taught me not to lose hope for that light at the end of the different tunnels we all have to journey through. It may not always appear in the way we imagine or hope, but it does appear. From the first time I met this kid, I could see the hope in his eyes even if it was only a glimmer. Everyone on the team within their different roles did all they could to help this family be successful. By the end of my time on the team, I heard news that they were finally reunified! That glimmer of hope in this teen’s eyes is what drove us all to show our support in whatever way we could.
During our current situation in the world it can be easy to lose that glimmer of hope. The youth currently in foster homes and their courageous foster parents can very easily get sucked up in the narrative that there’s no hope left. Despite all of the new challenges they now face, there’s still a light at the end of the tunnel. It may be hard to see at times, but it is always there.
We at Family Care Network--with the amazing support of our community--do what we can to support every family in care, so that they continue to have hope, and to make sure they believe in themselves and in their ability to see and embrace their light.
To directly impact and support our children & families in need, donate today by clicking here.