‘Thank you for being Mom when you didn’t need to’

An OYA youth in foster care writes a heartfelt thank-you note to her foster family.

Being a parent sometimes seems like a thankless job.

This especially might seem true for foster parents, who often go above and beyond to provide extra, specialized support for youth in their homes — a job they typically perform less for the compensation and more for the satisfaction of helping nurture a young person who really needs the support.

But recently, one Oregon Youth Authority teen took the time to recognize her foster parent for everything the woman had done. She recorded her thanks in a letter that she gave to her foster mom, a woman who fosters OYA youth through a proctor home program in Eugene.

OYA runs its own foster care program for teens and young adults who are in OYA custody and need a supportive, safe place to live while they work their way toward returning home or living independently. (Learn more about our program or how you can foster a youth on our Foster Care website.)

Below is the full text of the teen’s letter:

“Thank you for the courage to welcome a stranger into your home with little to no knowledge of who they are or what impact they will make. Thank you for being driven by the hope and faith that you can make a positive difference in the life of a child. Thank you for allowing your values and worldviews to be challenged by a young person coming from a very different place in life than your own.

“Thank you for understanding the damaging impact of childhood decisions, and making every effort to help troubled teens heal. Thank you for putting your family stability, harmony and relationships at risk for the sake of a child not your own. Thank you for dealing with disappointments by getting right back on the horse and marching full steam ahead.

“Thank you for taking in teens, at all hours of the night, under crazy circumstances and much uncertainty. Thank you for putting your lives under the microscope, in essence, living in a glass house under the scrutiny of so many agency eyes. Thank you for going to battle with schools, doctors, probation officers, even neighbors, as an advocate for your kids.

“Thank you for many days of sadness as you have served as a comforter, consoler or watchdog. Thank you for being the Transporter running kids here, there and everywhere. Thank you for altering your home and lifestyle in order to comply with licensing and safety regulations.

“Thank you for traveling the extra mile and more over and over and over… Thank you for participating in team meetings, IEPs [Individualized Education Programs], attending court and all of the extra activities that come bundled in with your fostering. Thank you for your creativity and all the amazing, fun ideas and activities you come up with.

“Thank you for filling out lots of forms, saving receipts, completing logs, and conducting all of the other administrative duties required of foster parents. Thank you for being the first responder to the multiple emergencies and crises with your foster children. Thank you for being a counselor, a tutor, a coach, a friend and a role model to your teens.

“Thank you for letting your home become Grand Central Station with so many workers intruding into your space. Thank you for being a wonderful, willing team player. Thank you for loving the unlovely, healing the hurt, guiding the lost and correcting inappropriate behavior.

“Thank you for being one of the most significant, lifelong influences in the life of a foster child. Thank you for being Mom when you didn’t need to. Once again, thank you for all you do and accepting us kids into your life and making us a part of your family. I love you.”

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

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