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Why I Choose to Continuously Foster a Child With a Disability

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Often when I read about parents who are given a diagnosis for their children, a lot of feelings come with it — sadness, grief and even guilt. A diagnosis sometimes results in parents having to accept their child’s limitations. Sometimes parents are left grieving the fact that what they have dreamt of for there child, may never be.

I’ve been thinking today about how it feels different for me with our foster son. I often feel sadness and frustration for what he has to go through, and for what he has to deal with. But it doesn’t feel the same as what I’ve read about. I’ve wondered why it feels so different, because I know I don’t love him any less. Then three words come to my mind — “You chose him.”

In many ways we didn’t choose him. We didn’t go pick him out of an orphanage or anything. But when the call came from our agency and they said, “There is a little boy who has something going on with his neck or back. We’re not sure what. Will you take him?”

Our answer was, “Yes.”

When the appointments became frequent and several times a week, we still said, “Yes.”

When the diagnoses came and hospital stays came we continued and still continue to say, “Yes.”

The thing about fostering is you don’t have to keep saying “yes.” We could have said “no.” It would have been acceptable and totally OK. But we chose him. We chose this life and continue to do so because we love this boy for who he is. We have a different advantage than a biological parent, I think. We didn’t dream about him doing something he can’t. He just came to us and we got to start loving him just the way he was and is. Fostering or adopting a child who needs extra care or who has a disability is not something to be afraid of.

It’s a special love. It’s a chance to say “yes” over and over. It’s a chance to chose him or her over and over.

It’s a chance to say, “You are worth loving.”

I’ve learned to love a child in a different way, in a deeper way. And really I think you see this love in any parent and family that has a child with different abilities, not just foster parents.

It’s amazing to me the purity of love you witness. I’m not sure my words are accurately describing what I feel. But, if you have ever considered fostering or adopting a child with some different or complex needs… don’t be afraid. It’s not easy, but it’s so worth it.


A version of this story originally appeared

Photo credit: ChristinLola/Getty Images

Originally published: March 4, 2019
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