Do I have your attention?
Are you wondering how I could hate Foster Care? Do you feel unsettled and bothered by that statement? Isn’t foster care supposed to be a good thing? I always thought it was a good way for society to help kids without homes. Think about it on a deeper level. I definitely never considered God’s viewpoint. But now, I have watched closely as two different ladies in my life accepted the foster care challenge. That annoyed, bothered, irritated feeling I get just reading my own post title… comes from God. He loves these kids so very much. He gives certain people a passion to change this reality.
In the last few years, God has clarified my feelings about foster care through two different foster moms I know. And May is National Foster Care Month.
I want to share what I hate about Foster Care. Think about these situations and ideas. Consider if there is anything you can do about this situation where you live. I’m not telling you to change your life…just think about how you can make this world a better place. Just “Do Something”, like Matthew West suggests in his awesome song.
For starters, that might mean just reading all the way to the end of this post.
#1. I hate that babies show up to a new foster family with precious little belongings in a plastic garbage bag or no belongings at all.
Our county was open to a group of my friends packing little diaper bags with age appropriate toys, something small and soft to cuddle, and some ready to go items so the foster parents didn’t need to run to the store to get through the night. Hopefully, these bags will go with the kids if or when they need to move on. Hopefully, there will be a permanent object in that bag that they can love and cuddle.
#2. I hate the uncertainty the kids, the parents, and the foster parents face each day.
How hard would it be to never know if they will be reunited? How hard would it be to love the child anyway, and base your care decisions on what the child might have to face down the road? It takes a lot of forethought to remember that as a foster parent you are shaping a child for survival in an unforgiving world. They are in your house for an unknown amount of time so you can strengthen them, nurture them, and help them understand there is good in the world.
#3. I hate all the rules.
The rules are supposed to protect everyone involved. I’m sure they do, most of the time. I’m sure, some of the time, the system fails because a perfect system cannot exist in an imperfect world. The privacy rules are some of the hardest. If you have any friends doing foster care, please care about them and the child by not speaking about their situation to others…unless you have talked to them first and know what you are about to say is ok. You really do have the power on this one.
#4. I hate that no one shows up.
I have never done foster care myself. Do people who take on foster care really know what they were getting into, exactly? How many times do foster parents feel emotionally overwhelmed and too tired to cook? How many times do they have to choose between missing out on event for one of their own kids because they have a foster child with a more pressing need? I admit, I never knew exactly what this was like until my friends were honest. It was uncomfortable at first, to hear one of them ask me to step up. I wish I would have thought of it first.
I have learned that sacrifice comes in several forms… think outside the box. Sometimes it means calling a foster parent and asking which night this week you could bring over dinner. Does it feel like that wouldn’t actually be helpful? Ask the foster mom who’s taken a little one to medical appointments and court visits and now before dinnertime she’s trying to pick up all the broken pieces created in that little person’s heart. Don’t forget to ask for dietary preferences and write them down so you can offer again next week. Sunday school is another great place to make a difference in the lives of foster kids on a regular basis. Be brave enough to seek out the kids and families who need extra loving when the kids might not be quite as lovable. They need time to adjust to their new reality. They may push buttons and present challenges but they are totally and completely worth your time.
#5. I hate that parents had to give up their children to the foster care system. Many times, this was not their choice.
Simply put, evil won in their own lives, first, and this is the new reality. I understand this world is broken. I get it. There are drugs, mental illness, money problems, etc. Many, many adults make bad decisions that create an unsafe place for kids. However, even when removing the child from that mom or dad’s care is the best and safest answer… that is still painful and hard for many of those parents. A foster parent has to love and forgive something about the birth parent and hate the evil all at once, in order to begin caring for that child. That is a love not humanly possible.
I don’t know if any of you reading this blog post will ever hear God calling you to foster care or adoption.
I don’t know if God will ever call me to that. What I do know, is that I am learning how God can use me today. They are not always super big ways in my own mind, but I am going to be faithful. The first step for me, was just learning how I could help my friend and learning more about how the foster care process works.
(Positive comments are welcome. Strong feelings about this subject means you are passionate. Consider what you can do with that energy as you check out the links I have attached up above…)