help wanted

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

NFCM07 LOGOTwo days after Baby D went home, Children’s Services was calling again. Well, it was a ‘hypothetical’ call from our very favorite caseworker. Totally not fair, guys. I go into a near depression every time we have to say no to any placement, and to use friendship leverage against us…well, totally not fair.

We had to say no. It was hard, as always. It was extra hard because this was a week-old-baby with a case that was likely to move immediately to adoption, and I can’t even tell you how good that sounds after months and months of praying for Baby D’s mom and dad, going to multiple visits per week, enduring 3-hour team meetings, and all the stuff that goes along with fostering. But we’re not ready. Our kids aren’t ready, even if they don’t know it. (We didn’t ask them. They would’ve all said yes with no hesitation, and we don’t need that kind of guilt.) It wasn’t the right time. It wasn’t the right child for us.

They called again this week. For the same baby. They haven’t found a home yet. Our county needs foster parents, and it's not just where we live – nationwide, foster parents are in desperate need. I will be the first person to tell you that not everyone should do this. That is for sure. It doesn’t mean that people who choose to foster are better or more noble or more capable than those who don’t, it’s just an honest reflection that different families are called and gifted in different ways. This might not be for you, but I would be remiss if I didn’t call you to consider it. Please consider it. There might be a child out there who desperately needs you to step into his or her life and make a difference. There might be a family out there that needs you to take a integral role in their restoration. There might be a caseworker out there that needs a caring, committed family to work with so that they don’t lose hope. This might be the very thing that your family is called to do. The very place where your family is gifted to help.

This isn’t the post I set out to write, quite honestly. But these are the words on my heart tonight. Think about it. What are the reasons you’re too scared, too unwilling?

Is it hard? Umm. I think you’ll know what I say about that. It is probably the hardest thing you will ever do. Don’t think that because you’ll get an older child, the hard baby-toddler work will be over. The work with an older child is deeper and harder than you can imagine. Don’t think that because you get a newborn, the damage won’t already have been done. The primal wound of separating a mother from her child has lifelong consequences for both, no matter the age. It. is. Hard.

Is it inconvenient? Absolutely. Your life and your home will now be somewhat controlled by the state. You agree to their terms, not the other way around. You might have to change how your household functions. You might have to change the physical make-up of your home. Your schedule will now be dominated by visits and meetings and therapy appointments and the sheer amount of time it takes to parent a traumatized child.

Is it financially worth it? Don’t let anyone fool you. The people who are doing this for the money are deluding themselves. It’s not very much money. The extra helps, but we have yet to break even when we add a child to our family.

Is it safe? Not even a little. If you have children already, they will be exposed to things that you would never dream of normally. They will be hurt again and again. You will exposed to things you’ve only read about. You will be hurt again and again. It is not safe at all.

But is it worth it? Every single moment.

The moment when you snuggle a child close to comfort them on the night when their whole world has turned upside down.
The moment when you just sit beside their bed for hours because to touch them would be an absolute violation and induce even more fear into a little body that is already stiff with stress and grief.
The moment you begin to understand the absolute horror that the children in your home have lived through.
The moment you give encouragement to a mama who is doing her very best to love her children, even though she has no earthly idea of how to do that in a healthy way.
The moment a little boy asks, after three months in your home with no answers and end in site, if you’re his mama, and you have no idea what to say.
The moment you tell another little boy that he is home forever. The moment you meet your daughter’s father for the first and last time.

All of that. It’s worth it.

Every moment of every day we’ve done this has been worth it. It’s what we were made to do. Maybe it’s what you’re made to do too?

 

If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent, google your state’s name + foster care, and you’ll be directed to a number of agencies, both state and private that can help you get started. If you live here, just contact me – I have lots of recommendations based on our experiences on how to begin this journey.

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