The situations are desperate. In our county alone, there are over 500 children in care, with over 400,000 nationwide according to the Children’s Defense Fund. Incredibly accurate numbers are hard to come by since the situations are always in flux and kids end up shuffled between their immediate family homes, relatives’ homes, and foster homes, and tragically, group homes.
The only thing stable about foster care is that it is stably unstable. It devastatingly comes at a time when kids need stability for their development.
These vulnerable children are everywhere and you might even know some without realizing it. They are dependent on good people to step up and open up their homes and lives so that they can have a chance to break the cycles that led them into care.
We were a foster family. We’re now an adoptive family.
There are many reasons why we did this, but it ultimately comes back to God: I know this is what He has for us. It is not easy and is, in fact, one of the hardest things I have done. Even though we have stepped back from this for, the time being, we are still learning and growing in our challenges now as an adoptive family because the truth is that the adoption doesn’t always mean happily ever after. It’s amazing and I would do it all over again, but I would be lying if I said that it is easy.
But, even in the midst of challenges, I have peace.
My life isn’t about me which is why it being hard doesn’t really bother me (although “easier” sounds nice, I admit). My life belongs to God. He calls us to serve Him by serving others. Knowing the dire need, there was no way that we could sit back and do nothing. Sure, would have been it so much easier not to, but I couldn’t say no when God put it on my heart. Saying no means missing His extraordinary plan and having to learn to turn off a piece of my soul to ignore the ache whenever I’m reminded of what I know I’m supposed to do.
If you are at all interested in this, God might be nudging you too.
That is how it started with me: quiet gentle nudges until I couldn’t deny it any longer, even when it didn’t make much sense. On this side of things, it makes sense now, but at the time, it didn’t. God was literally preparing my heart and giving me the tools to be able to do this years before I even considered it.
I know huge decisions are intimidating and this is why I write about foster care. De-mystifying the process, juggling all the emotions, and being open about working with bio parents can take the fear out of a forbidding thing – fear has a hard time thriving in the light.
The media loves to broadcast all the horror stories (and, to be clear, I find it appalling that people would further abuse these vulnerable kids), but this is all the more reason to step up and do something about it. Please explore our story and find out what living the life of a foster and adoptive parent really looks like. Even if you aren’t ready to take the plunge, God might be calling you to get your hands dirty supporting other foster and adoptive parents. And if not, we could all do with talking about it a little more anyway and making it less intimidating.
Start with these posts:
The Reality of Adoption – What adoptive parents are all thinking but too scared to say.
It Takes a Village – Why we need to do something about the horror stories, not run away.
The Birth Parent Challenge – Dealing with judgment and having grace for birth parents.
The Mess – We might be a foster family, but we don’t have it all together – no one does.
Permanent – When our daughter’s bio dad decided to make an adoption plan with us.
Just a Little Scared – My thoughts about how I was feeling fearful but fostering anyway.
Choosing to Stay – The time I wanted to run, but am so glad I didn’t – I met my daughter.
Grafted In – How fostering has changed our family’s view of family hilariously.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place – The dark truth why CPS is so “ugly” and it’s probably not what you think.
“Real” Parents – The struggle with labels and family dynamics in the midst of adoption.
Happily Ever After – Adoption isn’t a real ending, even if we want “Happily Ever After.”
Adjusting to Being an Adoptive Parent – Transitions and the “new normal” after adoption.