There isn’t much that leaves me speechless but foster care has almost achieved that. I’m going to try to find words because this is important and you can help.
It’s Thursday evening and I personally know of ten kids who entered care in our small county this week. I’m sure there are more I don’t know about. We are licensed for 3 foster children and we currently have 3. Our home is at legal capacity. I chose the number 3 because that is how many kids we could have total (3 bio, 3 foster) and all still fit in one vehicle. This week has made me question if taking two vehicles would be that bad and if our modest home could be stretched a little further.
We just finished up classes a few weeks ago and almost everyone that has been licensed from our class already has multiple children. There are children from our area being uprooted and taken to homes hours away from everything they know because there is no where for them to go locally.
During our classes, we were told there were approximately 30 licensed foster homes in our county so after our class that number should be closer to 40. I’m sure not all of those homes are currently accepting children, some are probably licensed for kinship care and only accepted their relatives (which is still great, just pointing out that these homes are not open for new placements), etc. That number is no match for the amount of children in foster care. Not even close.
Justin and I had talked about foster care and decided to wait. Until 48 hours later when our neighbors entered care and we realized the need is immediate. Once we were in the midst of foster care, taking classes, hearing the stories, etc., we knew that we couldn’t just stop at our neighbors. There were more kids out there and we had room in our home and hearts.
Since beginning this journey, I have felt called to continue. It’s not easy. It is heartbreaking when a child shows up at your door with absolutely nothing, their shoes falling apart, scalp covered in lice, and missing the glasses that allow the child to see. It will rip your heart out when you get the call that your foster child’s parent is back in jail and likely for a long time. It will gut you when you have to relay information that you know is going to hurt this child that you’ve come to love so fiercely. I struggle every day with the possibility that our teens may end up being forced to leave us even though they don’t want to, but that is when I remind myself who is in control. We will do everything we can to make sure the decisions made are in our children’s best interest and that their voices are heard and then we leave the rest up to Him. We do our part.
Because if not us, then who?
When these kids are in our home, we know that they are loved, protected, and well taken care of. We get to walk with them and root for their parents to make the right decisions so they can go home. We get to offer what little comfort is possible when things don’t go right. We get to be the people who keep these kids from going to group or residential homes. We get to step in and show them that someone cares enough to try and to keep trying even when it’s hard. We get to let them know that someone chooses them- the good, the bad, we choose it all and we choose them.
What is stopping you? Is it because your life is comfortable or you think it’s too chaotic? Is it because you fear everything that could go wrong? If these were your children in foster care, wouldn’t you want someone like yourself to stand up and say “I will love and care for these kids for as long as they need me.” You would, wouldn’t you, want that? Then why not you? Why not now?