'I Just Couldn't Do It' - MetroFamily Magazine
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'I Just Couldn't Do It'

by Jay Smith

Reading Time: 2 minutes 

“I just couldn’t do it….”

This is one of the most common responses my wife and I have heard when we talk about our decision to become foster parents. This response comes from a place of sincerity, but often leaves us a little puzzled and frustrated. My wife and I became foster parents because of our faith and in response to a growing and heartbreaking need in our community. We decided to do this after many months of weighing the cost and questioning our ability to in fact, “do it.” 

For some who may not know, the number one goal of DHS and fostering is reunification. This goal was drilled in our heads through every step of the preparation and training to become foster parents.  Reunification implies that as foster parents we are to care for and love this child as our own with the hope that our foster son or daughter will eventually be reunited with their biological families. 

That’s hard. How do you give your life away to someone who may be gone in a few months or years? I caught myself thinking, “isn’t it excruciating to have to give the child back?”

These are the questions we constantly wrestled with. Here was our resolution. Yes, it is going to hurt. Yes, it will be excruciating. Yes, we will have to give our life away with the full expectation that this child may end up being reunified with their biological families. 

Yes, it will be hard and trying, but no, this is not a sufficient excuse to say no. 

So, back to that initial response we often hear. You know what, you are right. 

You can’t do it. 

Neither can we. 

Neither can any of the thousands of foster parents around the world. 

My wife and I are not special or overly gifted. We do move by levitating or fly around with our super hero powers. We are simple people trying to do simple acts of radical love. We have walked through it all with the support of wonderful people and by the grace of God. That is what sustained us through it all. 

So, when people respond to what we do with a sense of awe or with the well intentioned, “I couldn’t do it…” Our answer now is…we can’t do it either, but with the help of the grace of God and a community of loving people…we can. 

Jay is a foster parent and the associate pastor at New Covenant United Methodist Church in Edmond. Learn more about him and our other bloggers here and check out all our foster care resources here

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