I stayed home from school the day Dwayne left our home. As a young teen, I had fallen in love with the baby, who arrived at our house only a few days old. His soft brown hair and big blue eyes had captured my heart over the months we cared for him. No one had told me it would be this hard to let him go, even though he was going for a forever home with his new adoptive parents. No one had prepared me for the pain and sorrow of losing a baby brother. It didn’t matter that Dwayne wasn’t related by blood to my family—he was family, even for a short time.
Throughout my teenage years, I had many more opportunities to love—and let go—of the foster children my parents welcomed into our home. I wasn’t aware that during the early 1980s, when my parents began fostering, 262,000 children ended up in foster care in the United States. I only knew Kate and Belinda, Jonathan and Mary Jane, the twins Jessica and Jesse, the trio of brothers who came every weekend one summer, and a host of others whose names I’ve forgotten, but whose faces I never can.
It wasn’t easy being a foster sister to these kids from heartbreaking backgrounds, who often had deep hurts and unseen trauma that would explode all over my life and home for seemingly no reason. During those years, I had toys, books, clothing, and personal stuff destroyed or stolen. I shared my things, my home, my mom and my dad with kids who didn’t want to be in our home.
But even as I struggled at times with the chaos having a full house created, I watched my parents love these kids without expecting anything in return and enfold them into the fabric of our family for however long they lived ….
My Journey from Foster Sister to Foster Mom