In part of the newest Batman, in order for the common good and protection of all the image of Batman must be destroyed. His reputation is ripped to shreds. Hero's tend to fall and when they do, they fall far.
I rarely go a week with out one of the following statements (or something similar) said to me: "I couldn't do what you are doing." "Thank you for doing what you do for these kids." "These kids couldn't ask for better home." People are trying to be encouraging and supportive. I completely understand that, and I am thankful for the desire to support and encourage.
However, the problem is--I am human. I make so many mistakes as a foster parent. I'm not saying that to be modest. I used to think I was a good momma. I used to think I was a good wife. I used to think I was good at doing ministry outside my home. NOW...I have questioned everything I know about myself. (And in many ways that's been good because I've been able to see God step into places where I once thought myself to be good enough.)
Holding parents to a Hero Mentality does two things:
It places the foster parent on a pedestal. The higher it goes, the bigger the fall when that parent messes up. And mess up they will. Recently a foster mom was convicted of shaking her foster baby. It was unjustified, it wasn't right, it's not excusable. But, what blew me away was how judgmental people are. I heard statement after statement of "they placed children into her home to be protected and she just went and hurt them" Again, I'm not saying that she is justified. However, I have such sorrow for her. What drove her to that point? Could more training have helped? How low had the saddness and loniless and pain of being a foster parent taken her?
Second, it makes foster parenting seem impossible to accomplish. If someone views a foster parent as extraordinary then they aren't even going to consider that role for themselves. There is a huge need for more foster parents. It doesn't take a nursing degree, a master's in special education, an extraordiary gift, or a magical power. It simple takes someone who is willing to say no to some of their own desires and yes to a child in need of love and saftey. That doesn't make it easy or fun, but it also isn't impossible.
I don't want to be viewed as a hero. It hurts my kids, it hurts me, it hurts foster care. I think if we took the time to think of foster parents as people just like us we would see more people desire to become one and we would see more support given to those who are already doing it.
Have you ever felt like you were placed on a pedestal you didn't want to be on? Have you ever fallen from someones graces for being less then perfect?