A couple weeks ago, we closed our foster care license. Then my husband texted me this picture of our local newspaper:
...which lead us to find this online article from ABC News, which made us say WTF, except with the actual words instead of the acronym letters. It made me wish we could somehow go back on the decision that is very right for our family at this time, tell CPS "just kidding" and open our home back up. Texas doesn't have enough foster homes and we just closed ours.
I texted with one of my foster friends, Kaley, about it, about the article, about our desire to throw open our doors and our arms and our hearts and welcome every kid from every county in our state, especially if the only option for some is to sleep in CPS offices after just being yanked from their homes. My friend said this: "I want to be able to do so much more than I'm able to do. Being a human with limitations doesn't jive well with my heart for helping." Another foster friend of mine, Elizabeth, once said to me "My heart is bigger than my house."
Here's something I have discovered about foster parents: When they commit, they commit big time. All in. All the time. Give me all the kids, oh wait, I don't have enough house and only two arms.
I already have three adopted babies, and because of that a severe dependency on coffee, wrecked knees, a wrecked house and yet my heart still wants to holler in the general direction of Texas as a whole: How can I help more?!?
My foster friend, Kaley, that I mentioned above? She's a single foster (now adoptive) mom. She decided to jump into the trenches of this great need on her own as a single foster parent. She's got a great support system of friends and family, but how much guts does that require to take on foster care as a single adult? She adopted her precious son the week before we adopted our three kids. She could say she did her time, made her mark, and get out of dodge, but no, she is up for the challenge, is staying licensed and wants to continue to foster.
My foster friend, Elizabeth, that I mentioned above? She and her husband are fostering two young sisters in their two bedroom house and she has to tearfully turn down calls for more placements of children because her heart has the space but her house does not. She and I have joked on several occasions about how Texas needs some villages/towns/compounds full of foster families that can support each other, cheer each other on and, most of all, provide a ton of homes for kids in need.
Where are more people like this?
My husband shared that ABC News article above on his Facebook the other day with his own plea to anyone, anywhere, who has any bit of pull toward foster care, to please contact me or him for more information about how to get started. He came home that evening and said "Nobody responded to my post." It wasn't with an air of dejection or disappointment. No, it was sadly with an air of "I figured as much."
People will praise foster parents and expound upon their worth and necessity in society all day every day. (I can't tell you how many times I've heard variations of "You're doing such a great thing" and "Y'all are incredible". No. Hush. We are two people with a house and some energy and we said yes to something.) But turn the conversation to "you could do it too" and folks get real full of reasons why not. And I get it. Not everyone can be foster parents. But a whole lot more people could than think they can.
So how do we get them to catch the foster care bug? God? Hashtags? Angsty, dramatic blog posts?
I wrote this post two years ago about why foster care is worth it and I stand by every word in it. It is worth it and it is greatly needed, in any county and any state. If you have any inkling whatsoever to know more, to try to start the process, to figure out how to foster and what it involves, please contact me. Please. Leave a comment here or message me via the contact form, Instagram link or Facebook link, all down the right hand side of my blog (doesn't show in mobile version, scroll to the bottom of the page and click 'view web version') and I would be over the moon to talk foster care with you, to pray for you, to pep talk you, to google resources in your area for you, to get you over the hesitation hump and into action mode. My husband's Facebook post got no bites. I'm hoping this one will at least get some nibbles.
Please. For the sake of lonely, scared children sleeping in CPS offices...