A father reunited with his son after one and a half years apart gave thanks to the foster family that cared for him by gifting homemade canned peaches.
South Africa (16 August 2022) – Tiffani from the Maletsatsi Foundation, shared her thoughts after she returned a foster child, who had been in her care for a year and a half, to his family. The family do not have much at all, but the boy is better off back at home with them. As thanks, the father gifted Tiffani twelve jars of homemade canned peaches, a luxury the family would dearly miss but made as a gesture that moved Tiffani to reassess her own views.
The Maletsatsi Foundation, officially founded in 2020, is a child welfare organisation that provides a safe haven for children in need. The foundation had always planned to take children in and offer a safe haven, but the pandemic urged them forward sooner than imagined. The pandemic saw a rise in the number of children who needed a safe space. Now the foundation is a safe space for many vulnerable children. If the organisation sounds familiar, that is because it is home to the famous Midnight Weetbix Bandit from 2021.
Tiffani has seen the very worst in humanity and how they treat their children. She takes in some of the most tragic cases of neglect, abuse, rape and incest. Sometimes though, the child is deeply loved by the family, but the family just cannot provide the appropriate care during that time. In this case, her young foster boy was loved, and his family worked very hard to get him back home.
She felt deeply conflicted sending her foster back home, knowing his home life would be vastly different from the one she had provided for him over the last year and a half. While processing her feelings about the situation, she was handed a life lesson that served as a reminder. Tiffani decided to share her thoughts on social media to highlight the conflict many foster parents and safe-haven carers feel when returning a child to their family. And to show that not all families in this situation are bad parents, some just fall onto hard times.
She encourages us all to judge less and love more! Take a read of her thoughts below.
“I’d be lying if I said my mind wasn’t in battle. Wrestling the idea of parenting below a certain economic threshold. Trying to make sense of whether it’s possible to be a good parent with no spare money.
As I’ve advocated and fought and pushed and prodded and begged and pleaded and eventually achieved the visitation we so desperately wanted, it would be disingenuous of me to pretend that I wasn’t secretly worrying whether I’d made a mistake pushing for a child to be placed back into a space that I would refer to as poverty, if pushed to make judgement on circumstance.
And so as our hopes became reality, and we drove away from him, and the home that he knew- one so vastly different from the one he’s called home for the past year and a bit, I guiltily admit to wondering whether the flimsy pieces that stand as walls could ever protect him the way the rigidity of our house could.
My mind obsessed as to whether the sparsely adorned dust bowl that surrounded his humble abode could ever nurture his being the way our luscious garden could.
As I left him with his blood, in the lowly space that reeked of inequality, I judged. I wrangled thoughts of ‘enough’, I grappled with my own privilege, I made assertion on his ability. I doubted. I struggled. I fought my mind and prayed he’d be ok when we came back on Monday.
Yet what we came back to on Monday was more than we bargained for.
A child with his tank full.
A dad beaming with pride.
And 12 glistening bottles.
Prepared just for us.
Eons ago, when working as a waitron, a wise manager once cautioned me to ensure that I treated each customer with the same level of service, irrespective of what I thought of their ability to afford the meal. The caveat, he noted, make sure to treat someone who looked like they were stretching their last penny to afford the meal, with even more respect and ‘five star-service’ than a wealthy couple, because the value of a rand to someone who had saved for weeks to spend it, was of high greater worth than it was to someone for whom money flowed freely. The lesson stuck with me through life. The value of a rand is different.
I couldn’t help but think of this story today as I looked upon this gracious gift. What immense value these 12 bottles hold. Their sweetness far beyond the sugary syrup that suspends the golden peaches within. How arrogant I was to think I could teach this parent life lessons. How foolish i was to feel smug, proud, superior.
What this father has imparted on me goes far beyond any education I could share.
His level of generosity exceeds any gift I could ever have given him or his precious child.
When you have so little and give so much, there is little left to say.
So as I wind up this eve, the last one before our precious baking babe comes earth-side tomorrow, I am humbled, overwhelmed, schooled.
To this precious dad who has fought so hard to get this spectacular boy back, these 12 bottles told me more than any social worker’s report ever will.
Your class, dear sir, surpasses any formal education, goes above any economic status and exceeds any errors along the way.
Thank you for reminding me of the true value of a rand, and the immense beauty in giving. I cannot wait to stand alongside you in court and passionately promote your family’s unity again.
Thank you for this magnanimous gift that has taught me all I need to know about you, and a huge amount about what I need to know about myself.”