As some of you now know, Tyler and I are starting the Fostering process! We are SO excited, not only to help the kiddos but also to help the Bio families.
So let’s start our journey at the beginning and then I’ll add in some FAQ’s that we’ve had. Tyler and I have always wanted to adopt. In fact, very early in our dating relationship Tyler brought up the subject of adoption and told me that he wanted to adopt and while he didn’t use the words specifically, I knew that adoption would be a deal breaker for him. I had thought about adoption, but not really heavily until he brought it up and as I started doing more research into it, God opened up my heart and I knew that adoption would be a big part of our future family.
Flash forward to earlier this year, we started talking about trying to have kids and decided that while we wouldn’t necessarily try, we also wouldn’t do anything to prevent it. Then it dawned on us, if we were open to having a kid with Tyler still in school, why hadn’t we started the adoption process yet? We were coming up on two years of marriage (which used to be a requirement), so we started looking into adoption and that lead us to fostering. The more we dove into the adoption world the more we realized that while that’s still on our hearts, right now we need to foster. In fact, the more we learned, the more we realized how big of a desire we had to be Foster Parents. Let me just break down the facts real quick with this beautiful picture from The Call- NWA’s Facebook page.
Yea that’s right. As of June of this year, the county we live in has 72 open Foster Homes and 258 kids in care. That’s NOT ok. A lot of people would point out that NWA has group homes. That’s true, but those are almost always at capacity which means that if a new child comes into care late at night and the worker can’t find an open home that’s willing to take the child- they may very well spend the night at the DHS office. Once more, That’s NOT ok.
And that brings us to today. We’ve gone through PRIDE training, we’re in the process of being CPR certified, we have had our Home Study and just have to finish up a few more things before we open! And now for the FAQs.
Aren’t you guys leaving in less than a year? Possibly. Tyler will be done with his PhD in May so there’s a very big chance that we will be moving to a different state. The last thing we want to do is disrupt these kids and cause more heartache and loss so we’re considering what will be the best course of action. Right now our two options are 1) opening for respite care, which is taking kids from other foster families (in case of emergencies) or kids that have just come into care for up to 72 hours. 2) Is that we take short term placements until December and then do respite until we know what’s going on.
Why Foster/adopt? Well to put it bluntly, because we’re told to. The entire Gospel is Jesus sacrificing himself for our eternal well being. We are told in John (and several other places in the Bible) that we’re adopted into God’s family. The Bible also talks about helping the widows and orphans (“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress …
James 1:27”). But the real kicker that there really is no excuse to be involved in Fostering and Adoption somehow is John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” Not only does God adopt us as co-heirs with Christ, but Christ willingly came to Earth to be a sacrifice for our sin. If that doesn’t knock you in the teeth and make you realize that life interrupted for the good of others is Christ-like, I don’t know what will.
Won’t it be hard to send them back to their bio families? Sure it will! If we’re doing our job right, we will love this kiddos as if they’re our own. But our desire for any child that comes into our house is first and foremost to be reunited with momma and daddy. Parenting is hard. I’ve had more than one friend ask me to come over to spend some time with them and their kid/kids because it’s been a rough day and they want witnesses around to take off the pressure. Geez, my parents definitely could’ve used a break from me, that’s why I had so many slumber parties at my grandparents! But not everyone has a support system like that. Most people do the very best with what they have and if taking a child into our home for however long helps a momma or a daddy learn how to better parent or gives them the time to work on themselves so they can be an awesome parent, then it’s worth whatever sadness we may have. The joy of reunification is a beautiful thing, and while we may be sad we don’t get to have that child in our homes anymore, they will always be in our hearts.
What happens if you get pregnant? Won’t that change your desire to Foster? Heck No! If you got pregnant when you had an older kid would you want to get rid of them? I don’t think so. If we ever have a child in our home and we have a bio kid or become pregnant then we just have two kids in our home.
How can I get involved? Glad you asked! Not everyone is called to Foster or Adopt, but everyone is called to play a part in the process. I love the back of The Call shirts. (The Call is a ministry designed to be the Christian bridge between foster parents/adoptive parents, and DHS. They’re fabulous!)
The shirt says it all. Even if you aren’t called to have children in your home full time, you can still do respite, you can still volunteer at events or to help drive kids around, you can still donate to the organizations or the families involved, but most of all you can educate yourself and others about the need in our County and our state (and the country, and the world)!
I’ll leave you with this, Tyler and I know this is not going to be easy. We know that there will be a lot of hard things we have to deal with and a lot of hurt kids that we will have to learn to parent. We know that how we choose to parent these kids from hard places will be different than the norm. We know that this isn’t the norm. And quite honestly, we know that in a perfect world there would never be a need for Foster families and I pray that one day we have more open homes than we do kids in care, but that day is not today. We are very aware of the challenges this is going to bring to us personally, to our marriage, to our friends and families, but I pray most of all our journey and our story challenge how you interact with Foster kids and the Foster Care system. I pray that you get involved, whether it’s donating school supplies to foster kids, spending time with Foster families, or just lifting them up in prayer. I pray that your hearts get broken for these families and you fight for them on your knees.
And one last thing, any kid that comes into our home isn’t lucky to have us. If they come into our home it’s because their world was turned upside down and they are just fighting to survive. God is allowing us to pour truth into their lives and their families lives at one of the most difficult points, and I pray we never take that for granted.