Please allow me first to say thank you.
You agree to take in a child…a stranger really. A stranger who has most likely been neglected or abused or both. A stranger who, in the need for self-preservation, has learned quickly to not trust anyone. You take these children into your homes with only a few words and few belongings regardless of how long they’ve been away from their family of origin.
The person accompanying this child or children is usually their caseworker – who may know very little about the child or, if you’re very fortunate, will know everything about the child you’ve welcomed into your home. The caseworker may have spent hours looking for you, making phone call after phone call trying to find the child a place to call home, either temporary or permanent. Or they called you with their fingers crossed, praying you’d take this child, that they just needed a home willing to take them.
Case workers are never prepared to move a child. It makes us sad and we spend countless hours trying to prevent it. We hug them goodbye and promise them you’ll take good care of them and we pray they believe us.
As we leave a child with you in your home, we return to our car. Sometimes we go back to work. Sometimes we go see another child in another home for regular visits. Sometimes we go home. But sometimes we pull into a vacant lot or along the side of the road and cry. Yes, we cry. We, just like you, are human. We have emotions and hearts and souls that ache when we do the job we chose to do. We are just as angry and heartbroken as you that the child is in care. We carry the weight of the child and sometimes their family of origin every day. We know the child you care for may never return to their family, and it hurts us too.
Please for a moment don’t ever believe that we don’t think of the child on weekends, or at night trying to sleep, or when we’re with our families. Sometimes the casualty in helping you care for the child is our own family. We miss birthday parties and baseball games and dance recitals. We take your calls and answer your texts and emails during dinner because we know this isn’t a one sided job.
And tomorrow we get up and do it all again.
So thank you…for partnering with us for the children’s sake. We share your joys and struggles and hope you see us as your partner in this too. Just…thank you.
Jennifer Krneta has been a Foster Care Case Manager at Caritas Family Solutions for 19 years.