Growing from Compassion to Empathy

Foster parents often wonder how being a foster family will impact the children already in their homes. In this video, foster and adoptive mom, Betsy shares how fostering helped her children grow in compassion and empathy.

“So, our children have really kind of grown up, you know, with lots of different children coming in and out of our home, lots of different cultures, exposure to a lot of different situations. When they were younger, there wasn’t a good grasp on the timeline I have with that child. I don’t know how long that child is staying. And while I have that child, you know, I want to do the absolute best I can for that child. You get on the ball right away to get him to the pediatrician, find out, okay, do they need glasses? Do they need a dental appointment? What kind of behaviors are we seeing? We line up the therapist, you know, to start the healing process. And your own children aren’t always going to understand, especially when they’re little like, wow, you seem to be spending a lot of time on that. Because in the beginning, it does take a lot of time. I can say to people because I now have these children that are 17 and 20 that were in first and third grade, I can say to you, here’s what the journey looks like 10 years later: my son writing the paper to get into college and basing it on fostering and every time he came home from college and there was a new child, him jumping right into it and picking the child up. And what’s your name? How’s it going? Hey. And just seeing that happen. And it’s so natural for him. It’s not, it’s not awkward. It’s not a big deal.

“Us going to, you know, state fair or Summerfest and a child that is there that has Down syndrome or a child that is having a meltdown. And it doesn’t faze my children. You know, they’re not staring. They’re not, you know, ‘what’s wrong with that child? What’s going on?’ Their biggest strength is empathy. You know, so instead of trying to teach empathy or read about empathy, you know, we grew up living empathy. You had, you had to live it.

“There’s no first grader that comes to their parents and says, hey, please, can we foster you know, can we make the difference in the life of a child? I think one thing my husband and I always did was we always honored our own children. We always honored their space in the home. This was our idea, you know, we felt called to do this. Certain things have to still be in place, an absolute for them, too.”



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