(Please turn on your speakers to experience this musically interactive blog!)
Raising foster children is like writing a song. In the beginning, it’s a new world filled with unsure moments and anticipation as you envision your new lives together. It’s a crescendo of excitement.
You look into the beautiful eyes of siblings – a brother and sister – who deserve all the love you can give, and you’re ready to write the lyrics to what will be an inspiring and life-changing melody.
You hear the need of love in voices searching for what they deserve, and as you wrap your loving arms around them you sense they are beginning to trust that they are safe – finally.
You set a tempo to a pace everyone can keep up with – a correction here and a modification there. It’s like changing the beat of a metronome when necessary. Everything has to have the correct timing.
There are highs and lows. As you complete a chorus, you find out there is dissonance in the tune. Abuse and neglect have produced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in your foster daughter. Her brother has Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).
This piece of music isn’t going the way you planned, so you rethink the arrangement of your composition.
Sadness sets in as you reflect on the abuses that have caused their behaviors to decrescendo– that took away their true voices.
You go back a few stanzas and rewrite the verses of the opus with counseling, therapy and, most importantly, your unconditional love. This isn’t easy. It takes a lot of work and patience, but a bridge is constructed so a transition into harmony can begin. What were once broken chords are turning into sweeter melodies.
The result is a score so beautifully composed and incredibly inspired it not only changes your lives, but also the lives of others who have the pleasure to hear your song.
Bravo, well done and encore!
Salendria Mabrey is a Communication and Development Associate at Foster and Adoptive Family Services.