When we made the decision to become foster parents, we were completely blind.
We knew we wanted to grow our family through adoption. Due to the requirements of international adoption, we felt like the door was closed to us. Due to the cost of domestic adoption, we also felt like that door was closed to us. As I was doing research on adoption, I stumbled across brief mentions of foster care.
It was there, in the back of everything I was researching. It was there, just niggling. And then it came to the forefront of our minds.
The more research we did, the more we felt led to it.
We initially went into foster care convinced it was about caring for America’s orphans. The abandoned, neglected, least of these. The kids in our own backyard who are being abused and going hungry.
And we learned that foster care is so much more than that. Foster care is coming alongside an American system that is broken. It’s coming alongside judges and caseworkers and doing our best to work with them, even when circumstances aren’t always pretty. And it’s coming alongside birth parents and trying to help them work towards a place in their life where they can take care of their children.
Yes, foster care is about helping the entire family. Surprisingly, it’s not about adoption, (although adoption does happen frequently).
So, why do we foster?
First, we foster because we are commanded to take care of the orphans.
- To give children a safe home
- To work within the system alongside caseworkers, supervisors and judges
- To provide a safe home for children while their biological parents get back on their feet
- To provide a bridge between our middle class lifestyle and the needs of those who live in deeper poverty
It is also important to note that as we foster, we have some “rules” and “regulations”
- The goal is reunification with the parents. We need to be taking in these children and then cheering on their parents (sometimes so hard).
- Our passion is for the families. As we have gone through fostering a child, we have realized that the system is so messed up. Removing a child from a family often does not solve anything. Instead, we need a system that comes alongside the whole family and helps them function as a unit. This system is not in place, but we will do our part to play a supportive role in helping birth parents get on their feet and have the ability to take their child back.
- We have agreed as a family to be very careful about how many children we take in. I’m not talking about the background of the child or the history of behavior or anything like that. I’m saying that we want to take in children and make them feel at home, like they belong in our family. We do not want to take in every single foster child in Greene county, because we feel that would not be as effective.
- We have agreed as a family to take a full month off from accepting a new placement after we say goodbye to a placement. Grief is tough, man. And we need to be able to process it in order to be more effective to future placements
- We CANNOT do this alone. We need the body of Christ surrounding us every step of the way. We need prayers. We need physical items (frequently). We need listening ears and people who are willing to help us go through the grief…over and over again.
If you have any questions at all about foster care or adoption from foster care as I go through this series, please don’t hesitate to ask. You can leave a comment or send an email. At the end of the series, I will have a Q&A day and will be answering any questions I receive throughout the month.
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