Fostering · Parenting · Words to live by

A word {or many words} about adoption and foster care.

My intent is not to offend anyone or make anyone feel guilty and I hope it does not come across that way; it is difficult to put these thoughts into words. I simply wish to explain a little further about why we have chosen to begin this journey.

Chris and I have finally completed the process to become foster parents {and hopefully one day adoptive parents}. Our application will go before a board for approval next week {though as I’m finally getting around to posting this our application has been approved!}. Once we are approved we will wait for a call.  I’ve shared that before. What I haven’t really shared are my feelings about it all and maybe give you {my family members, friends, complete strangers on the internet} some insight as to why we are doing this.

When someone finds out that we are going to foster, we get several different responses. There’s the “wow, that’s great. I could never do that, but great for you guys” or the subtle “You’ll really have your hands full”. Most people, though, give us the rundown of their aunt’s/friend’s/boss’ experience with foster parenting and adopting. The disheartening part is that what they share is almost always negative, as if the ‘teller’ is trying to warn us of the impending doom that is sure to enter our home: “Oh yeah, my coworker had a foster kid in their home for a few weeks, then the kid was so bad so they made him leave”}. That breaks my heart. Not the fact that the foster kiddo was bad. They will be… all kids are at some point. But that the ‘bad foster kid’ is all that I hear about and the fact that they are sharing the story of the ‘bad kid’ is somehow supposed to be a warning to me to ‘get out’ or it’s somehow their own personal reason for absolutely not fostering or adopting.

I don’t doubt that what others tell me about their {or their Aunt’s/friend’s/boss’} fostering experience is true: some kids lie, some hit, some cry all . the . time, some scream, some don’t speak a word, some {really all kids} disobey…… the list goes on.

My response is simple:

So. What.

So what if a child has tantrums, or throws things, or isn’t potty trained {by age 7}, or can’t sleep alone, or doesn’t share, or won’t eat peas, or has stinky clothes.

Does that mean they don’t deserve to be hugged? fed? bathed? told they are smart or funny or loved? Given the chance to feel safe, appreciated, and just be a kid?

36591815692253744QOOnM2jac

A child does not have the power to change their home situation, their influences and role models, or their resources. That is the purpose of the foster care system, but more importantly, those who are followers of Christ: to provide these children with some semblance of stability, safety, love, encouragement while their family is not able to {whether permanent or temporary}. I am fearful of a world in which the children coming into foster care have no home opened to them and nobody there to help them along the way. They will still grow up. What type of adult will they be?

I am not naive. I do not believe taking someone else’s child into my home will be easy. or always fun. or that it pays well. or that throwing another child in to the mix will not be difficult.

I am not naive. I do not believe that a child who has experienced trauma {no matter their age or the type of trauma} will come without issues, will be on a sleep schedule, will eat the meal I put in front of them, will know how to be around other children, or will not cry.

God loves every single person he has created. He wants us to love every single person he has created. Sharing our home, food, support, friendship, comfort, and laughter with others is how we can show that love. God has blessed Chris and I immensely; We want to live our lives in such a way that others can see that.

178103360233184068NnVUWSnhc

I also like the wording of James 1:27 {the same verse as pictured above} from the Message bible:

“Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world”.

Chris and I realize, just like anyone, that it is much easier to speak those words than actually perform them, but don’t let space, money, or time be the deciding factor for whether or not you foster/adopt/care for those in need; because space, money, and time will win out every single time and your answer will always be ‘no’. We are trusting God to work out the details and I know he will. We are trying to use our space and resources wisely so that we can bring  another child into our home. I don’t know yet where they might sleep, or how I will fit another carseat into my itty bitty car {Charlie’s barely fits as it is…eek!}, or if we will need another highchair, or how child care arrangements will work. But I know it will work out, because when you are loving those that God loves, He will take care of the rest. And that’s a fact, not an opinion.

We are so thankful for your support. When we do have a placement {could be next week, could be next year} I will not be able to post information or photos about that child {to protect their privacy}, but hope to keep blogging about the everyday adventures of our family as much as possible.

 

4 thoughts on “A word {or many words} about adoption and foster care.

  1. Ashley, you and your husband are answering a call that is not easy but is SO rewarding. Yes, there are “bad” stories out there, just as there are “bad” foster parents out there… we hear those stories all the time. And somehow they have come to represent fostering as a whole. It is so sad.

    But sad, too, are the many stories of the children in foster care. They need someone to love them, to show them what family is. And, lest we judge their biological parents, we need to remember, “But for the grace of God, there go I.” You will discover that so many of the situations you will encounter are a lifestyle. Many times, the biological parents have known nothing other than what brought their children into care. They need to be shown (the parents as much as the children) how to be a family, how to care for each other. One biological mother told me that I have her dream life. My answer? All I have is Christ.

    Our family has been fostering for just two and a half years. We have our 18th and 19th placement right now (I think). There have been hard times and struggles, but more often than not- tremendous blessings! We have ongoing relationships with most of the children who have stayed with us- in fact, more than a handful attend church weekly with us now. We have seen lives turned around. We have developed relationships with birth parents that have led to lifelong changes in their lives. We have seen real miracles happen.

    So yes, there are hard days. And many people around you may not understand- after all, you’ve chosen to walk the hard road. But the lives you will impact… and the lives that will impact you… there really are no words for describing the blessings you will have on this journey.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s