Nato – the biological son of foster parents, who grew up by learning to say goodbye
My story began in 2009, on Christmas Day. One day my parents told me about the children in institutions and about their wish our family to take care of abandoned children. Although I was only 9-years-old, I was eager and happy, because my opinion was important for my mom and dad. There was much anticipation, I was glad that there will be a child and will be his elder brother and will take care of him. We had several meetings at the institution, where the child, who would come into our family, lived. We were always excited, we hardly waited for the next meeting. I noticed that every time we went into the orphanage, the children stood at the windows and shouted "Mamaaa!" I guess that was all they wanted - to have a mom, who loves them and hugs them.
Just for Christmas she was with us.
She was much smaller than a 3-year-old was supposed to be. She couldn’t speak, she has just started to toddle, she couldn’t chew, but this didn’t stop her to enjoy the love and attention she received. She just needed someone to love her. Her coming home was very emotional.
I was already a brother. And for me it was interesting how a life was awakening in front of me. The changes within her happened in hours. At home the little girl caught up what was lost during her life in an institution. And between us there was a strong connection.
I started to learn to share with her what until then was only mine. I gave her my bed, my room, I shared with her my toys. When I was buying myself a chocolate, a candy or a banana, I began getting the same for her. Sometimes I was buying her something she likes to make her happy. I was taking her to the park to play, to walk together. She loved to spend time be with me. And her joy made me happy.
Time passed and we took home a second girl. She was a year-old, underdeveloped, with bowed legs like a little frog, she was screaming when getting dressed up, she didn’t like to be hugged. It was hard, but she was changing with the love we were giving her generously. She was an exceptional child. I grew up in many ways beside her. I had somehow a stronger connection with her. I began to feel like a real brother, somehow she became very special to my heart, I don’t know even know how it happened, but I loved her very much.
I never wanted her to leave our lives. And when it was time for her to be adopted, I was not prepared for the separation. I wanted her to stay in our family and even asked my parents to adopt her. I was afraid of where she was going, if they were going to love her like we did, if they were going to take care of her like we did. They adopted her abroad. She didn’t know their language and neither they knew hers. I thought I would never see her again. It was the first separation, the first loss of a close person in my life. And I was not prepared. I didn’t know how to overcome the pain. Warm memories often emerged, I missed her a lot, I even cried. This agony continued too much and had an impact on my education, on my relationship with my relatives, on my behavior at all. Although she was not there anymore, I continued to call her like I only called her, I started to talk like her, to use her sweet words and somehow I felt closer to her. I tried to keep her as part of my life. For my parents it was also very difficult. For months they were crying, but no one was interested how we felt, no one supported us and taught us how to overcome separation. We were supposed to be professionals. I think we were more people, more loving and more giving out, than being professional. My mother took the role of a psychologist in the family and all together we managed to cope and move forward.
Two years later, on December 30, we were excitedly preparing for the New Year. For quite some time hadn’t gathered the whole family. We were going to celebrate together with my two brothers. The whole house was in Christmas decoration; the mood was festive. And then the phone rang, the conversation was brief, my mother's face changed. The excitement about the holidays did not stop my parents to take a quick decision to accept urgently in our family a brother and a sister. As if we were their gift for the New Year.
The children who came were in very poor condition, especially the boy, who was bitten by rats. I felt sorry for the children. I loved them immediately and they became part of our family and my life. The previous placements helped me. Over the years I gained experience with our foster children. But to their biological parents I felt anger. I could not explain what kind of parents would allow this to happen to their children. To me my parents were the people, who take care of me, who love me, who are happy with me, they were the most precious. And those people obviously did not understand what it was to be a parent. Now, unlike the first day, when my parents told me that we would take care of abandoned children, I feel very happy that we are able to help such children and to experience with them their emotions, difficulties and successes. We experience everything with them as a family.
Now for me it is a conscious feeling, I not only understand it, I live it, I like it. I feel part of foster care and that makes me happy. Yes, there were difficult moments and pain, sometimes I felt misunderstood. Sometimes I needed more time and more of the love of my parents, but somehow during all these years we never stopped learning. Now we are all happy, this is the mission of our family, to help no one’s children.
To me, foster care is to save a child's life, to give away love, without someone wanting it. I know from experience that accepting a stranger in the family is very difficult and not everyone would foster and help an abandoned child. And they are not to blamed for the acts of their parents.
Was it difficult? Of course! Out of a sudden there comes a new person in the family and he becomes the most special. You stay in the background and previously it was you being the best. I felt sometimes unhappy, harmed. All the attention was focused on the new kid. I was jealous of the love and attention my parents gave the child. Foster care taught me as well. I was learning to demand and receive less, and my parents were learning to find time for each of us, to make us feel special not miss anything.
I passed through the emotions as through a school, where I felt harmed, neglected, less important and loved, until I began to give away what I was missing before - with a joyful heart and with great love. To me the experience in my relationships with foster children is very valuable and I continue to learn. There is no such school!
Now, eight years later, after all this experience, I feel much more mature and richer. I know how to help a person in need, whether a child or an adult. Everything learned helps me in life and in relationships outside my home. I learned what true values are, how to think about others, and that it is better to give than to receive.