These past few months have been challenging and amazing and truly demanded all of my attention. At the time of my last post, we were in process of getting licensed to be foster parents. Not long afterwards, our license was granted and we got our feel wet really quickly when we were placed with a precious nearly one year old little girl for two months within weeks. I can honestly say that giving her back was one of the hardest things I have had to do and I'll probably write a post about it all later. Our county is swamped with Child Protective Services cases right now and I recently heard that there are over 500 kids in foster care here. Almost immediately, we started getting calls for other kids. The week we were placed with our current foster daughter, I got four calls asking me if I would take kids. I'm only licensed to be able to take one child right now, otherwise I probably would have more. It is probably a good thing though, since I really have my hands full at the moment with our three boys and our sweet little infant girl whom we have had for four months now. I can't really give details about her, but she has some major health issues (thankfully doing really well!) and taking care of her and working with social services has become really like a big part time job. Our boys are all doing great and absolutely love her and are passionate about what we are doing. I dearly want to raise them to be men who see the needs of others around them and are willing to step up and do something about it. We try to shelter them from the bulk of information about the situations we are involved in, but it is important they grow up knowing that others are far less fortunate than us.
I wrote before about why we are doing this here, and while I really truly still feel that way about it, I can honestly say I am even more passionate about it now even though it has truly been difficult. Even though you talk about it in training and you know it is a reality, nothing can truly prepare you for handing a child back. There is also nothing that can truly prepare you for seeing (and knowing that you had a part in) a family being put back together that was on the brink of implosion. While it is a lot of work, I don't really see it as a big deal because we are just reaching out and meeting a need in our community. It really isn't that different from what the early church did: they gave to each other to make sure that everyone had their needs met. My plan, at least right now while I think I actually have time to do it, is to write more about foster care and a lot of the issues about it. I'll be tagging these posts to make it easy for people to find them and if you know someone who might find them useful, please go ahead and share them! We've had a lot of friends ask us about what we are doing and how to get started with it themselves so I know there is a big need for this sort of discussion. I can't even begin to describe how excited I am that some people I know are considering doing this too because the need is so great and it is so worth it! It is an incredible way to serve and be a light to the world. I really think making a difference is something everyone can do no matter where they are. Choosing to make a difference, in any way, makes all the difference!
In honor of foster parenting, this is my list of truly humorous things people have actually said to me (and my inward responses ;)! ). And yes, it is crucially important to keep a sense of humor with all of the drama involved!
- In regards to my two year old son and 1 year old foster daughter, "Are they twins?" Did you not notice that significant size difference... and the fact that one is blond and blue eyed and the other biracial?
- "Are you breast feeding her?" Pretty sure that would be frowned upon by social services...
- "How was your pregnancy?" Easiest one I had given I didn't know about this baby until a month after she was born.
- "She looks just like you!" and "She has your eyes!" and "Your kids all look alike!" Purely coincidence but I don't want to explain so "smile and nod"!
- At the hospital answering a nurse's questionnaire: "Is there any situation at home a social worker could help you with?" Ummm......
- After asking some kids and their mom to not touch the baby a week after she was released from hospital: "You just had her and are back at work ALREADY?" Yay! I don't look like I just had a baby!
- "Is that the same baby you had last week?" Musical babies hehe! I'm confusing everyone around here!
- "What country did you adopt her from?" Ummm... I think I need to be more clear what foster care actually is.
Please come check out more on this topic at my new site, Uncommon Grace!