Compassion fatigue.

Compassion fatigue.

​A couple years ago, in the midst of ​fostering our firsts, I crashed.

Parenting a sibling set of three suffering severe neglect and trauma, I felt like a toddler trying to run a marathon.

I’d never buckled a kid in a booster seat, let alone refereed backseat pinching and screaming matches while driving.

What I lacked in experience, I made up for in determination.

I was all in.

Until I was all gone.

My love and care were met with pain and anger. Again and again.

My home had become a warzone with ten-year-olds tantruming and five-year-olds swearing.

At some point between the fourth and fifth month, I grew despondent.

The thirty years of grace and kindness I had built up from healthy relationships and a loving family, were spent. The hope I had for helping these little ones, gone.

By grace, the team found an adoptive family just as we were finding our limit.

In the days and weeks to follow, my weakness felt like failure. I didn’t know if I could foster again.

Then, I heard a trauma therapist talk of compassion fatigue. Describing a place of isolation and apathy from helping others in distress.

A place I felt ashamed to know.

But the knowledge that others knew it too was the solace I needed to find my compassion once again. To renew my hope that I could foster again.

Not because I was strong enough or good enough. But because I wasn’t. But maybe I was never supposed to be. Maybe nobody is.


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  1. Pam

    Liz, your gift for going right to the heart of life is so emotional to me and so full of truth. Thank you so much for giving us so much of you in your words.

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