Foster Care: A Whole New World

Monday, May 8, 2017

If you read my "hello" post, you may have noticed that we have a little boy and he doesn't "match" us, haha. Thats because he's our foster child. We cannot give away his identity, legally, so he will be affectionately called "little man" on here. 

We didn't end up here on a whim or due to a desperate attempt to "get a child"....God actually put the child in our path, dropped a watermelon size burden in my heart for him and here we are. Not enough of the story? Fair enough. Go brew some tea and get comfy....

If you've read the "about me" section of this blog you'll know that Im blessed to work for a non-profit that ministers to those affected by disability. This job is beyond an honor...its a privilege. I direct and run three retreats for families affected by disability. One of our families who comes to retreat has a son with a seizure disorder whom she adopted through the foster care system. Her and I had formed somewhat of a relationship and connected on the fact that I, too, had a heart for adoption.

ADOPTION.

Not, foster care.

Just to be clear....that line had been drawn in the sand a long time ago.

But we'll come back to that....So, she called me in April of 2014 to let me know that she had taken in a little two year old boy and he'd be coming with her to retreat. No big deal, I took down his information, put him in the system and moved on with my life.

Or so I thought....

The next week this little guy was pressing on my heart....I would find myself praying for him, crying for him, hating his situation, trying to forgive the people that hurt him...etc. Finally I realized, this is quite odd...to have this level of emotion for a child I have never met and only know thanks to a friend. So, I began to search that out in my heart of hearts...."Why, do I continuously think about this little boy?" "Do I continue to just pray, or is there more to this story?".


I went on praying and finally told this little boys foster mom {we'll call her T} what was going on for me. She said, "well, what are you going to do about it?". A little stunned I said I wasn't sure...{truth} and moved on.

The next day I told my husband. He was a little glazed over at first but said he would certainly pray about it as well. On our way to church the following week, in the secret of my heart, I asked God to press it on my husbands heart...that without any encouragement from me, he would feel some leading in this, if this was right. A little while into church he leaned over and said " that little boy is very much pressing on my heart". I felt a sense of peace come over me...we were going to know what was right. 


A couple days later, Matt said to me, "we need to do the foster care training. Lets get on this". 

Stunned does not quite accurately describe my emotion...You see, my husband has always been for this in "theory". I think he had the idea that we would birth our children first, and then begin adopting. It seems Someone else thought otherwise ;) 

Anyway, I whole-heartedly agreed and called the social worker contact that T gave me. We met with her within the week. Initially all the foster care stats scared me....I realized that I was stepping into something that I had very clearly closed my heart to {as I mentioned earlier}. However, as she spoke about the purpose of foster care, the good-the bad-and the [very] ugly...my heart began to soften...and quickly. I started to feel drawn to it....as if it were unlocking a deep part of my heart that I had not allowed anyone to see...a part of me that actually knew this would someday be a part of my story...

Matt said he felt the same. 

Our social worker came out to our home not long after and approved us for an accelerated version of the PRIDE foster care training. Two {somewhat grueling} sessions a day, every Saturday for 5 weeks. Let me tell you what this is NOT for the faint of heart...this is a calling. If I didn't KNOW within every fiber of my being that we were called us to this...by session two I would have bolted out of there faster than lightening.

Truly.

Foster care is opening up the most vulnerable area of your heart, exposing it, and having no idea what will happen. Will you be hurt at some point? Yes. Will you feel anger for what has happened to children that come into your home? Absolutely. Will these children express their hurt in a way that may hurt you? YES. Thank goodness we know the One who can get us through...Because it is NOT for the faint of heart. 

But is it worth it? YES.











When little man first arrived at our doorstep we had no idea if we'd have him for a week or for forever. His biological mother was still very much involved, although in an unhealthy way. We just kept loving him the best we knew how until we got the news she had relinquished her rights and our little guy was available for adoption. 

We were excited and terrified. 

You see our little man has not been the easiest to parent. He came from such pain and was wired so differently than any child Id ever met. It was like he desired to be naughty, to have negative attention fulfilled what he was searching for and positive reinforcement made him uncomfortable. So he sought negative attention. Over and over and over until I sometimes thought Id break. Even though we have come SO far on this journey, there are still days I think I will break. 

But he has come so far. Matt and I have grown so intensely and continue to mess up and continue to succeed moment to moment. I have learned that loving someone who does not love you back is a moment by moment choice. But someone has to love him because he deserves it. Lord knows Ive been loved through my ugliest days...why doesn't he deserve that too? 

So, as we inch towards adoption day (whenever that may be) we will continue to love and grow as a little family of three! 

xo


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