Today I met Daisy, and she broke my heart. I’ve met a multitude of adorable babies at the retail store where I work, but Daisy sticks out in my mind. Daisy, a foster care child, was born HIV positive.
Her foster mom, a woman I will aptly name “Angel,” and I struck up a conversation one day at the baby store. Little Daisy was all dressed up and her beautiful blue eyes caught my attention. During the course of our conversation, “Angel” divulged that four-month old Daisy, as alert and adorable as she could be, was also an HIV baby. Daisy was currently undergoing an antibody treatment that could potentially eradicate the disease from her tiny body. I was taken aback; I did not even know that was possible! Angel also disclosed that Daisy had two older siblings, ages 2 and 1, and both were undergoing the same treatment. Although the older children seemed to be responding well, Angel stated that the mortality rate for children under 2 with HIV is 50%.
When I heard these statistics, it immediately changed my perspective. Certainly we’ve all had those days where we feel exasperated, or like we’ve been dealt a bad hand. Suddenly, I realized I was holding four aces in comparison to Daisy’s proverbial poker hand.
And then, there was Angel, herself. Imagine accepting a child into your home and your heart knowing that any day, that child could either die or be removed from your care. “Angel” was hopeful she would be able to one day adopt Daisy, but she did not have her hopes held high. Angel had been a foster parent previously, and her charges were unceremoniously taken away from her when an obscure family member decided they wanted the children instead. No good-byes, no transition period, just off they went, leaving Angel broken hearted but ready to love again.
So why do foster parents do it? The financial reward isn’t great incentive and the probability of a broken heart is a real possibility. My only guess is that some people, like “Angel,” have an overabundance of love to share and for them, nothing else can fill that void. They’re givers, in the true sense of the word. Without these fabulous foster parents, many children would be substantially worse off. They thrive on the love, patience and consistency these foster parents provide.
While not all foster children are blessed with nurturing foster parents, Daisy is one of the lucky ones. She has her guardian, “Angel.”