Occasionally we are asked why we as foster parents do foster care. Not many times, because most people understand it as "taking in kids to help them". Absolutely! There is more to that though. So very much more. It has been 2 years since we started this journey with kids in our home and ohhhh the things we have learned.....
We don't do this for the money- The state reimburses foster families at the end of each month an allotted amount of money for each child they have placed in their home. What we get doesn't necessarily mean it costs that much to take care of a child. It is just an extra boost of help with providing for their needs. Could we live without it? Absolutely. Could we care for kids without it? Absolutely. Is the financial assistance helpful? Absolutely. It is not a determining factor of why we do foster care though.
We aren't in to just adopt- Three years ago we knew we wanted to start trying for a family again. We faced the infertility road once again, and decided we needed to start praying about another possibility God might be placing in front of us to provide a family. Talking to a friend, the words adoption...foster care...Buckner...Covenant Kids... all started coming up. Leaving the event we were at, we started to wonder, 'could this be the road God has intended for us'???? Stepping out on faith we started the foster care process. Why we skipped straight up adoption and just went to fostering, I'm really not sure. Possibly a mixture of the fear of no financial means to adopt and the overwhelming responsibility that comes with adoption. I stop and laugh right now because there we were, oblivious to the reality of the responsibility of foster care!! Ha!! So as we began the meetings and trainings, I truly believe our hearts were in it to adopt a child out of foster care. That is not a bad thing! Kids NEED to be adopted out of the system! After our first few kiddos left, we were disheartened. We also got a huge dose of reality though. The full extent of reality didn't truly hit until child #7. At that point we started realizing that we needed a heart change. God wanted us to take in kids to love, nurture and help heal wounds that they couldn't care for themselves. He didn't want two foster parents bitter at the system and the families of these kids just because we couldn't have biological kids and we couldn't keep their child! God has continued to open our eyes to how much of a difference it makes in the life of a child to have a safe place for a certain amount of time. That safe time gives the child time to heal as much as possible from their past, but also gives the parents an opportunity to do the same. Some parents don't make the choice to heal and get their child back anyways. Do we agree with that? No. We can't change that either. We aren't called to. We do what we are called to do and that is show these kids and families Jesus. That looks different for every child and family. No two are ever the same. Joshua and I still have a deep desire to have a child that stays with us permanently that we can give our last name to. We are not promised that will happen and if it doesn't.... That is ok!!!
We don't do it because it's easy- If I have heard it once, I have heard it six million times.... "I just don't know how you give them back"!!! I am by no means dismissing the fact of how hard it really is to let children go. I could write a book on how hard it is, but I won't ;) Sometimes it seems as though when we are approached about letting them go, that we choose that! If we had the choice, none of them would leave! We take these kids in, love them like our own, then we endure the heart break of letting go. The kids struggle at times too with leaving, but they do have their family to go home to. We take this heart break, so the kids don't have to. Seems crazy, but it's for the best. I always tell people that you would really be surprised what God is capable of doing in your life with foster kids if you allow Him! (Or should we even be surprised at what He can do?? He is God!)
We do it out of obedience- There are times I really question if what we are doing is right. I know, sounds crazy after all I have previously said, but it's true. When God stirred our hearts to take in foster kids, I know He knew He would be dealing with two very stubborn, hard headed foster parents. So when times get hard, it's so easy to question this calling. I'm sure God shakes His head occasionally at us, but He still sticks with us. Even though the path you are set on is rocky and unstable at times does not necessarily mean it's wrong. God wants us to be faithful to serve HIM through this calling of caring for foster kids. He knows it's hard. He knows loss hurts. He knows
family drama is ridiculous. Most of all, He completely understands. So even though we question
ourselves and things get ugly sometimes, we are still going to be obedient to that very moment God called us to begin this journey.