One of my favorite sentences from the Gigi Pip manifesto and something I continuously love to live by is the premise that:
"We walk into the day with the goal of coming out better than we were before + we bring others with us.. So come as you are. exactly as you are right now. Because there’s always a seat for you at our table."
Whatever the hat you may be wearing today, tomorrow, next week or next year, just know, you have the capacity to cultivate an immense + lasting impact for good on those around you. The specific hat I have been wearing the last few years has assisted me to learn + grow into a more well-rounded individual that understands that people deserve kindness, hope + second chances. The hat I choose to share about is that of being a Foster Mother. This role has taught me the significance of being a positive role model + how to truly embrace the ability I have to empower those who are broken, hurting, fearful or who have seen or continue to see themselves as less than worthy.
Let me tell you a little bit about my story - my name is Mariah Hosea + I like to believe I am a woman of many hats. I began working in foster care 6 years ago while working to obtain my degree in Psychology. During this era, I fell in love with assisting these youth to come to understand their potential + self-worth. While working for a foster agency, I met my best friend who soon came to be my husband shortly after working together a while. We grew very attached to the kids we worked with day to day + during our dating experience we would set goals to one day foster children of our own. Fast forward to to the present and here I am, a mother of 3 children aged 3 and under, I have the wonderful pleasure of working on Gigi Pip's Customer Experience team, I also work for my husband's family-owned foster care agency and lastly I have had the pleasure of being a Foster Mother for the past 4 years. I currently am hosting 3 sisters who are 11,10 and 8 years of age. To say life is chaotic would be a major understatement, but I wouldn’t have it any other way + I wouldn’t change a single thing about the hats I wear.
What does being a foster parent entail? Why would someone want to be a foster parent? Those are all questions I definitely didn't know the answer to before working in the field. Honestly, most people don't know much about foster care in general. Here are some helpful statistics about foster care in the state of Utah where I reside: “In Utah, there are around 2,700 children in foster care at any given time and some 1,300 licensed foster/adoptive families. Children in foster care often have special needs due to neglect, abuse or separation. (Utahfostercare.org.)”
Foster families are a big catalyst to helping these children understand that they have a place in this world, they are cared for, they are loved + they have all the potential in the world of becoming someone great. Hosting foster children in my home has been a never-ending cycle of teaching them to re-love themselves and that the traumatic hardships they’ve faced do not define who they are.
I definitely will not sugar coat this role as a foster parent and say it is all rainbows, butterflies and unicorns because I would be deceiving you. In my experience, as my husband and I take these children in they come with their fair share of personal, mental, emotional and physical challenges and struggles. Being a foster parent requires mountains of effort on our part in the sense of doing our best to have a compassionate heart, a sincere listening ear, a warm countenance on the hard days + a smile of full grace letting them know tomorrow is a new day, there is always another chance to try again to be better. I will say that being a foster mother is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my entire life! But I feel like that is also the beauty of it. You are taking something that has emotional or mental bumps, bruises and blemishes and making it into something completely new and transformed by giving it the opportunity to thrive in an environment of love, empathy and care. I think that’s my favorite part of it, seeing the incredible metamorphosis occur after months of nurturing, allowing these children to see themselves as I see them. Capable. Intelligent. Kind. + Worthwhile.
I’m proud of the hat I wear as foster mother. Although I know it is not a hat for everyone, it’s one I recommend others try on. It is a unique hat that helps me to be more accepting, more forgiving, more inviting, more willing, and more able to love wholeheartedly + unconditionally. These foster kids like many of us just want to feel valued, seen and heard and it has been my honor to host them in my home and to give them a seat at my table.
We all deserve a seat at the table because you are worth it, we are worth it + they are worth it.