Friday, June 28, 2013

Knowing your Limits

I am a little sad today...okay...I am a lot sad. (Bad grammar helps cheer me.)

First, let me bring you up to speed. I received my license a few weeks ago and have been waiting, waiting, and waiting for "the call."

Well, last night I got it. My case worker called (whom I have never actually spoken to) and wanted to set up a time to come visit. Then it happened.

She uttered the long awaited words, "We have a placement in mind for you."

(Pause for a jig).

She began to share a few details about a teenage girl that needed a home. My heart began to drop. My caseworker wasn't even giving background details, but I immediately knew from the diagnosis that the child had experienced some tough stuff!

The internal wrestling match began and continues. I don't even need a definite decision until next Friday, but I think I already have one which brings me back to sad.

My heart says, "Go for it!"

My head says, "Stop."

If I leave my emotions out of it and ask myself the question, "Can you accomplish the necessary aspects of life and still offer this child what they need?," the more I start to worry that I can't. This child will need constant attention and discipline, a schedule like none other, and an emotional rock as a parent.

I can already hear some of you asking, "Well, isn't that what every child needs?"

To you I say, "Multiply the normal attention and discipline by 100 and you have this kiddo."

I am worried that I can't help this poor girl at this point in life. I feel like I am giving up on a child I have never met. I have already stayed awake at night worrying what will become of her if I don't at least try. I am not in this for easy, right? I signed up knowing that the chances of "normal" are minute.

Of course, you hear how hard it is to watch them walk or be carried away!

No one told me how hard it would be to do the walking.

In reality, I have to remember that I am limited. I cannot be the rescuer to every child. Oh, how I long to be, but it is not my job. Christ alone is the Saviour of this child. Jeremiah 29:11 is good for her too! He already has a plan for her young life. Plans for a future. Plans full of hope! And that is my comfort today. I am limited, but God is not.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What was I thinking? Part One

There are a variety of responses one receives when they share their intentions to become a foster parent. Add that you are going to be a SINGLE foster parent and people can really start twitching.

The most common response is a list of questions or exclamations. "Wow! I could never do that!" followed by "How are you going to be able to give them up?" Bring on the questions! The fact is that foster parenting is my favorite topic! I could talk for hours about it. If you have any questions post them as a comment and I will do my best to respond! For now I will attempt to address some of the responses I have encountered.

"Wow! I could never do that!" - Yes, you could. I am not an emotional superhero nor do I have some kind of heart made of metal to block the emotions of watching a child I have loved and called my own return to their biological family. It's quite the opposite. I am simply too sensitive not to do something about the thousands of children in need of a safe place to call home while their parents sort through their own brokeness. I am not trying to imply that you are not sensitive if you are not adopting or fostering! For me it has simply become harder to choose NOT to foster than to choose to act in a tangible way. Everyone has a niche (1 Cor. 12:12-20) and this happens to be mine. If God called you to foster you could do it too!

"How are you going to be able to give them up?" - Honestly? I don't know! There are some aspects of fostering that I will not be able to explain until I experience them. Reunification with the biological family is just one of those. I do know that I agree with the goal of fostering: reuniting children with their primary family if at all possible. Will I always agree with the system and the decisions it makes? NO! It makes me unbelievably disheartened to think that some of the kiddos that come through my home will return to less than reliable homes and will likely return to care or experience more trauma. I will most likely cry when they leave. I will miss them like crazy. And the reality is that I will question if I can handle the heartache any more. Ready for the positive side? I get to love a little soul that is hurting. That alone far outweighs the negative for me. I will have the opportunity to be a small part of reuniting a family. Just thinking about that possibility makes me smile.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Love Makes Us Family

A few months ago an old dream began to surface yet again. This time I allowed it to linger in my heart long enough to think it might actually be possible. It began a long time ago when I was introduced to a book in the Elizabeth Gail Series by Hilda Stahl. Libby was a young girl that grew up in the foster care system. She was shuffled from home to home, abused and neglected in
almost every placement. That is until she was placed with the Johnson's. There she learned about Jesus and the unconditional love He and His followers offer. She learned of redemption in horrible circumstances. She learned that she was chosen.

I don't know how many times I read those books. There were twenty-one in the whole series and usually I would finish the last one and start over at the beginning. I would write little notes to my parents and put them on their pillows asking if we could adopt. I even used scripture to back me up!

Fast forward to this November 2012. A college friend announced her family's intention to adopt from Bulgaria. Immediately I began to ponder the possibility of being a foster parent. I even started researching requirements and agencies. Finally I attended an orientation meeting just to have more information. Before I left that meeting I filled out an initial application. A week later the "big" application was in my mailbox and I was assigned a home assessor. Absolute craziness ensued! I filled out the application, met with Paula, had a background check, and received more paperwork. This was all before Thanksgiving!

At Thanksgiving I announced my intentions to my family and sought their advice and support. (And also accidentally posted it on FaceBook through a support group's page that didn't have privacy settings as high as mine!) I also spoke with my closest friends and a few other people "in the trenches" just to confirm that my current support group would hold true. And of course they did!
So where am I in the process now? Well, after Saturday I will be six classes away from finishing the pre-service requirements (there are 12) and Wednesday Paula is coming to my house for the first home study interview. The end seems so far away and yet so close. When I started this process I thought it would be at least six months before I finished the classes and that the home study was far out. As with most things in life, there is still a lot of uncertainty. I have come pretty far, but I haven't finished yet and there is still a possibility that it will not work out. I suppose Paula could come Wednesday and see the dust on my ceiling fans or find out that on most days there are dishes in my sink. (Neither of which will be present by Wednesday. Oh, no! I just had a flashback to dorm life and white glove room checks!)

All in all, I am excited about the upcoming changes and challenges, but trying to stay a little detached in case it doesn't happen. I am just so thrilled that I have reached the home study portion of this process that I had to share! You are welcome to join me as I journey on.