If I’m Not The Hero In My Kid’s Story, Who Is?

We often tell foster and adoptive parents that they’re not superheroes, and adoption and foster care are not rescue missions. If that’s true, what is this journey, and who is the hero?

Father and his daughter

I used to think it was me. Fifteen years ago when we first began this whole journey I would have told you, it was us. I thought we were on a rescue mission. I thought our entire calling as foster and adoptive parents was to swoop down, grab up as many broken kids as possible, pull them out of the dark situations they were in, and give them a way more awesome life in our home, than they would have had anywhere else.

Boy was I wrong. About a lot of things! Particularly about the reason you become a foster or adoptive parent. You don’t enter the journey to be a superhero, or a rescuer. You enter the journey because you love children and you want to change the world. Sure, you may be “rescuing” a child from a dark situation, but that doesn’t make you a rescuer or this a rescue mission. You’re just doing what human beings should do for other human beings.

So, that begs the question: Who, then, is the hero in my kid’s story?

Rescued, Not Rescuer.

I recently came across a great quote from author and pastor David Platt, when it comes to adoption and foster care. He says, “It’s important to realize that we adopt, not because we are rescuers. No. We adopt because we are the rescued.”

We are the rescued. Interesting thought, isn’t it? Have you ever considered who you were before your children came into your care, or joined your family? Have you ever gone back in time, in your mind, and surveyed yourself for a moment, before these precious children turned your world upside down? Remember your attitude, your thoughts, your perspective, and your intentions back then? I do. I can say for myself, 15 years ago, that I was not the person I am today. I saw the world through my own eyes, no one else’s. I was a tad bit self-absorbed. I probably wouldn’t have admitted that back then, but it’s certainly true.

What changed for me? Becoming an adoptive parent. Choosing to foster. Choosing to enter the messiness of someone’s life and care. I’m a way more compassionate, caring person today than I was before we began this journey. In fact, I can say honestly, I wasn’t compassionate back then. I wanted what I wanted, end of story. There was no room for anyone else.

Perhaps our children are the ones who have rescued us? Perhaps this journey has been as healing and restorative for us, as parents and adults, as it has been for our children? Perhaps they’re the heroes of their story?

They’re The Hero!

My good friend Matt is also our videographer and podcast editor. He’s phenomenal at both. We work closely together on everything from podcasting, to product launches, to online platform building. He’s not an adoptive or foster parent. But he put a challenge before me the other day, that I haven’t been able to escape. He was giving me critiques over the Season 4 premier of our podcast, Honestly Speaking, something I love to do (really, I do!). We were talking about the flow of our episode and how we needed to do a better job of guiding our audience through the topic. I totally agreed!

But then the conversation shifted to foster parenting and why we do what we do. That’s when he posed the question still ringing in my ear…

“Who’s the hero in your kid’s story?”

I took step back and started to think. “I’ll give you a hint,” Matt continued, “It’s not you!” I stood there in the parking lot of the Starbucks we were meeting at, completely silent. For a writer and public speaker like myself, I’m usually not void of words. And when it comes to foster care and adoption, I’m never void of words. This time, however, I was.  Then he said, “It’s your kids! They’re the hero of their story!” I drove away with my head spinning. In all the years we’ve been on this journey, I’ve never thought about it this way.

But, the truth is, Matt’s right. My children have overcome so much in life. Traumatic pasts I can’t even imagine. Dark memories that will haunt them forever. And yet, they are full of life. They are filled with passion. Not only that, but they’ve changed me. They’ve taught me how to see the world with compassion and love. They’ve rescued me from myself.

I’m not the hero of my kid’s story. I’m just a person who (thankfully) got over myself long enough to follow a calling. My kids are the hero!

Question: How have your kids become the hero in their story, or yours? Share your story (or theirs) with us in the comment section below. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • Michelle Schumacher Damerow

    Talk about timely and a smack in the face…this was spot on and just what I needed! Now that our twins are 18 things in the home have intensified. A pulling away and pulling towards old and not so good stuff. But in the end they must make this life their own journey and we are here to love.

    • Michelle, I am so glad you liked the post and that it resonated. Have a great day!

  • Aaron Bunker

    Yes! So good!