The First “No”

The first yes was easy.

We got the phone call. A 15 day old baby girl.

yes

There was not even a second thought in our mind.

And then tonight, we got another phone call.

Another girl. This time a 3 year old.

The phone call came at the worst time. We were just sitting down to dinner and we were all hungry and ready to hunker down and enjoy the evening as a family. Of four. We have finally reached a point where we feel like we have a schedule going with both girls. We have finally reached a point where I feel like life is *slightly* manageable and has a routine (sometimes).

I got up from the diner table and answered the phone. My heart sunk. A child. A little girl. Needing a safe home. Tonight.

I asked the appropriate questions, got some details, and asked the caseworker when I needed to give her an answer. An hour. We had an hour to make the decision. If we said yes, she would arrive at our home tonight. If we said no….

Well, we said no.

We talked about it. We have a bed. We have a carseat. We could easily have clothes. We have the appropriate age children to match up siblings. We have a warm and safe home. We have love in our hearts. We have a foster license and we signed up for this type of phone call on a Wednesday evening at dinner time.

But we said no.

Why? Why? Why?

No one warned me about this part of foster care. I heard that if I got a phone call, I could always say no. There is no pressure to say yes to a placement (and indeed this has been true).  But I didn’t know the feelings that would hit me out of nowhere when I said those words.

No.

I feel hopeless. So many children out there that need foster homes, and I just can’t say yes to all of them.

I feel like a failure. I became a foster Mom to take care of children who need safe homes. My home is safe. But I didn’t open it up to that child. I failed that job.

I feel angry. Why are there not more foster homes? Where is there not someone else to take her? Why is that caseworker standing in the cold trying to find foster homes for this child and her siblings? Why isn’t the church stepping up? It shouldn’t be hard to find home for children who need a home. It just shouldn’t.

I feel despair. The world is a sad, sad place. There are children out there, right now, who don’t have the basic necessities: food, water, shelter, love. And these kids aren’t just overseas. They are in my town. My neighborhood. Your town. Your neighborhood.

I feel guilty. I could’ve given this child a warm and safe home. Tonight. But I didn’t. I feel guilty. Where is this sweet girl now? Is she safe? What if she isn’t? Is that my fault?

I feel relief. We said no. We said no and we are keeping our family as-is for now. I don’t have to make a new bed or make those phone calls or hit up goodwill to look for clothes or deal with a 3 year old in the mix of my other two girls. I don’t have to solo parent three children tomorrow while Theo is at work. Relief.

But mostly, I feel sad. So, so sad.

So why did we say no?

We said no because it was best for our family. It was best for Theo and I’s marriage. It was best for Tera Evelynne. It was best for Little Miss. If I took this placement at this exact moment in time, I would be stretched very thin. I wouldn’t be the best wife. I wouldn’t be the best Mom. I wouldn’t be the best foster Mom. It doesn’t need an explanation and I don’t need approval from everyone I come into contact with.

I’ll always wonder. I’ll always wonder: what if we had said yes? But we said no. And it is our first no.

It’s a lot to deal with. Prayers appreciated.

 

 

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