Lucy Stevens - 4th July 2023
Many people say that fostering is rewarding. It’s true that fostering can be very rewarding indeed, but often when you’re in the thick of it, the rewards can seem elusive and unreliable with their timing.
So in this week’s blog, I wanted to encourage all of those foster carers who are overwhelmed with the challenges, whose chins are just above the water scanning the horizon for the rewards.
Poor prom planning
This week it was my son’s prom. A true rite of passage and a lesson to him of the importance of organisation! Despite months of me pressing him for what transport he wanted, there was no response forthcoming! 2 days before prom, he asked me to arrange a “smart car” to take him and 3 other friends to the venue. Needless to say my search proved fruitless.
After the umpteenth call to a car hire provider, I sat down and thought. My mind went back to my foster son’s prom. What a happy occasion that had been! It was a totally new experience for him, not being from the UK and not knowing what to expect. He also hadn’t said what sort of transport he’d like and in the end a friend of his had driven him.
I picked up the phone and messaged him. I joked about how my son was just as disorganised as he had been at that age. Five minutes later, he called me.
“I have a friend who has a really nice car and he can lend it to me. I’ll drive B and his friends up there,” he said. “I’m fully insured.”
Now, I am a bit of an emotional person, so it will come as no surprise to those who know me that my eyes filled up and something inside me broke a little bit.
“Are you sure?” I said, “you would do that for him?”
“Of course! Of course, I would do that for my brother.”
Brother to the rescue
My eldest son was just 9 when our foster son came to live with us. Both boys did a fair bit of growing together. My son didn’t always find it easy and at times some of the sacrifices we asked of him were difficult to make. Similarly our foster son had a lot of trauma to overcome and couldn’t always see past this. For a long time, it felt like he was existing and we wondered when he would inhabit life in its fullness. To add to the complications, our foster son didn’t speak English, so it was difficult for everyone to get across who they were in their innermost being.
The phone calls between the boys in the lead up to prom underlined just how much had changed since those early days. The challenges we had faced, the ups and downs, the times we wondered if we could go on. All of those things faded away. I had no need to look to the horizon; the rewards were there in the excited chatter. In my son’s joy at being rescued from his predicament. In my foster son’s joy at being able to help.
And for me? What better demonstration of love? Despite it being Eid, imminent plans were put aside and our foster son turned up at the appointed hour with a car he had clearly polished and shone to within an inch of its life. I cannot tell you how much this moved me.
We don’t foster to reap the rewards ourselves. We foster because we want to change the world in some small way. Yet the undeniable truth about blessing others is that at some point the blessing will return to you.
And when it does, it’s always at the right time.