foster care awareness month

Thursday, May 3, 2012

foster care month

In total and complete honesty, I never, ever wanted to be involved with foster care. Adoption was close to my heart for many years, but this is not an area that I was even interested in. For all the same reasons that most people don’t do it. It’s kind of distasteful to the modern, pretty, white-picket-fence sensibilities that we are bred to appreciate as Americans. It’s dangerous because you have to ‘give the kids back’. It’s not appropriate because it’s working with the government, and well, we all know how terrible they are at things. I would get too attached. I would love them too much. It would be too painful. I could write an entire post of all the things that people say to me when they try and defend why they don’t do foster care. (I say defense because I don’t ask them why. They just volunteer this info guiltily without prompting.) I offer no judgment on those reasons because they are virtually all thoughts and opinions that we had to deal with in our own hearts when we began this journey.

Without my husband to push me and the legacy of grandparents, cousins, and friends who had already walked this road, I would never have travelled down this path. When I look back now, the foundation of this calling was built into my being from a very young age. My grandparents fostered children before they even had their own. I didn’t even know that for most of my life, but I did know my grandparents. They helped form who I am today, and a part of that formation was most assuredly their own background in caring for needy children.

I grew up in a family and an entire church community where the regular practice of many was to take in those people who needed a place to stay into their own homes. Most of it was not formal foster care, but there was one foster family in our church. I grew up close to them and their children, and the legacy of their foster care experience took root in a deep place of my heart from a young age. They have had a significant voice (more than they realize) into our situation currently as well.

Even in my own home, I spent a good part of my childhood living with other people. College students mostly, married and unmarried, sharing our home, our meals, our lives, our family. I didn’t realize until I was older how that impacted my character. As I meet more and more people who are concerned about ‘family’ time, I appreciate the legacy my parents gave us of a family and a home that was bigger and more inviting than just our own nuclear unit and blood ties.

So this month, I want to honor those who have gone before us as well as help those who are coming behind. We’ll talk about some of the myths and misconceptions regarding foster care as well as the joys and the reasons why we do it. If you have any questions you want answered, myths you want debunked, or reasons to move ahead where you feel you’re being called, please email or comment; I’ll do my best to answer them!

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