Yet, it is like the familiar Starfish story.
A father and son were walking along a beach at sunrise after a huge storm. When they stepped onto the beach, they were met with thousands of starfish littering the beach, hundreds in each direction. The boy bent down and picked up a starfish, throwing it far into the ocean. Again and again, he repeated the action. After watching his son for some time, the father asked, “Son, what are you doing?”
“I’m throwing these starfish back into the ocean,” the young boy answered.
“I see. But why are you doing this?” the father asked.
“When the sun comes out and starts warming up the beach, the starfish will all die. I have to throw them back into the water.”
“But son, you can’t save all of these starfish. You can’t possibly make a difference.”
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The boy stopped for a moment to take in his father’s words, then bent down, and picked up another starfish in his hand, before throwing it as far as he could back into the ocean. Turning to his father with a large grin spreading across his face, he simply said, “It made a huge difference for that one!”
And it can make a huge difference for each child from foster care we bring into our home.
Being a foster parent is often the hardest thing we do. After all, each time a new foster child comes into our family, there are new challenges, as each placement, each child, is unique. Every placement will be different, and it will not become routine; some placements may even be unsettling. We do not have a “normal” lifestyle, to be sure, and we make many sacrifices as we bring children in need and in trauma into our family.
Yet, we are changing lives, while our own lives are being changed. There is a good chance that in the future, the foster child we cared for may not remember our names. There is a good chance that in the future, the foster child we care for may not remember our faces. But for so many children in foster care, each foster child who comes through our homes will remember one thing; that for a period in his life, he was loved, and some day down the road, he will blossom into something better because of it.
And we will be a better person because of each child, as well.
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