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...
Thank you for this post. I know that feeling so well - my desire to help outstripping my resources to help. Foster parenting is so hard and so heartbreaking sometimes, but so so worth it. I have that post you did a couple years ago bookmarked, and reread it often. We are on our fourth placement in 18 months (all previous ones were reunified or placed with family) and our current baby is moving towards reunification in the next few months. I'm so happy for all of my babies and their families, but it breaks my heart every time I say goodbye. And every time I start to feel like I can't do it again, that I don't have the emotional wherewithal to invest everything in a child only to say goodbye and not be able to know that they are safe and okay and happy, I reread that post, and remind myself that what I'm suffering is nothing compared to the suffering these children have suffered, and may continue to suffer if there were no-one willing to take the risk to love them. I also think about these children (and the staff) sleeping in CPS offices and I know I can't turn my back on that need.ReplyDelete
It's unfortunate that the most common response I get when I tell people that we are foster parents is "I could never do that." I wish I had the right words to tell people that would convince them that the heartbreak is worth the benefit to the children who need them.
Okay I'll quit now, but thank you for sharing your experience and the inspiration.
Oh wow, I'm honored that that post is such an encouragement for you. Bless your family through all the reunifications. That is something we haven't had to deal with in our unique, sudden combo pack of a family situation, and I can't imagine the struggle in your heart between happiness for the family and grief at seeing a child go that you have loved on. Praying for peace for you and yours today.Delete
This post made me wish I lived in Texas. Though that would mean that I didn't live in Illinois and our two foster daughters would have gone to someone else. We are about two months into our very first placement and reeling. We went from childless to parents of two girls, one with long-buried trauma. We're licensed for four, but if our agency called today we'd have to say no and it breaks my heart. Even with the kids in my home, the ones already here, I ache for the healing I want to bring and have to simply wait and work for.ReplyDelete
I have read every single one of your foster/adoptive blog posts. I stumbled onto your blog when we were first getting licensed and I find your heartbrokenness for the hurting children a model for my tornado of emotions. May God raise up even more heartbroken people to care for the least of these.
I very much understand that feeling of being maxed out physically and emotionally, yet still wishing to do more. You are doing just what you need to be doing, which is focusing on those two girls with all you've got. Praying peace, calm and healing over your home and your little girls.Delete
Nibble, nibble! Hello! My husband, also named Trent, and I are working toward getting licensed. Good news, we live in Texas. Of course, it is now 2019 and I am just now reading this blog post; but so grateful for your blog! Just wanted to let you know even though it has been years since you posted this it is still encouraging for people like us!ReplyDelete
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