Our Foray into Foster Care
It started with a off-handed, “I’d like to do that sometime,” and turned into, “I’ll look into it,” which became, “maybe it’s time,” and finally a decision: “Let’s do this.” I can’t pinpoint the moment it happened really — subtle progression that it was. That desire to add to our family always just seems to sneak up on us as an inkling and then it’s suddenly, undeniably, there.
We began the process to become foster parents last fall. Initially we attended a kids consortium (to explain the process), and then went on to 10 weeks of classes (on parenting traumatized children), home inspection (to make sure safety standards were met), social worker visits (interviews with us and our children), and then completed mounds of paperwork (medical forms, financial forms, pet vaccinations, recommendation letters, you get the idea). This is what we are used to. This is our normal.
What is not our normal is that these kids that we’ll care for — won’t be ours forever. There’s a chance — but not a great one.
And that is okay — because it’ll have to be.
People often ask “What will you do when you have to give them back? You’ll be so attached!” “Then I’ll give them back,” I reply. The goal of the foster care system is reunification with biological parents and we are going in fully aware, both knowing and respecting that.
Arizona has the highest number of children in foster care in the United States. Some theorize that is because the drug problems here are worse here than others — which is hard to imagine. Others submit that our system isn’t efficient and we don’t have enough foster families — which is likely also true. The only thing I know for sure is that this world is a broken place where some people just can’t seem take care of their kids. A teacher calls. A neighbor calls. A hospital calls. A family member calls. They call the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) who then investigate and conclude whether or not these children are safe in this home with these people. If not, they are removed and the parents are given a required recovery plan. A family court judge then decides when, and if, qualifications have been met to determine what is best for the child and where he should live.
We’ve heard lots of terrible stories about the system, about the kids, about biological parents, about other foster parents. You name it. We are not afraid. Our prayer is that God uses us for the purpose He has in mind. If it becomes hard, we also trust that He’ll give us the grace to endure whatever it is that He allows. We know He’ll be there for our hellos, our goodbyes, and all the time in between. It’s going to be a trial and it’s going to hurt but it just might also be wonderful and amazing. Most likely it will be some of both. That is Life with Christ. Love anyway.
Our license finally came through Saturday, August 6th, after nearly a year from the beginning of the process. Our home is now on the list for one child under 5 to add to the seven we already have.
And now we wait for the call,
for that little someone,
who needs us
For a time.
Since writing this we’ve had one little guy live with us for a week. We loved him well and were sad to see him go. Further thoughts on future posts will come.