Friday, June 24, 2011

"Foster Friday" - THIS is Why I Do This...

When people discover that I am a foster parent, the first question I inevitably hear is usually something along the lines of, "Oh my goodness!  How can you do that?!?"  Followed quickly by, "I could never give them up!"  (I know you other foster parents can relate.  :-)

So I thought I would dedicate this week's "Foster Friday" to all of the reasons why we can and continue to do what we do.
  • "THIS is Why I Do This" Where panel members talk about those specific moments and emotions that led them to foster/adopt, and the moments that have continued to make everything worth it.
      Jennifer (aka. Mama Lark) - I am answering this week's post sitting outside my daughter's bedroom door while she flails and screams and kicks because bedtime makes me "the burst mudder eder".... sometimes during THOSE moments, I am really not sure why. However, its inevitable. After this fit of rage is over and I have kissed her little face, I will flip on the news and hear a horrific case of child abuse that will tie my stomach in knots and leave me baffled for hours.

      The reason I started doing foster care is because I wanted a child to love. It was all done selfishly, I won't lie. Now, after doing this for many years, I have a more profound desire to help. 

      I spent an afternoon with my daughters' birthmother not so long ago, where she told me of her life before she became a foster child. I was beyond mortified.... her mother held her down and dosed her with drugs because she was "overweight".... because of her mothers less-than-helpful diet plan, she was addicted to numerous drugs by age ELEVEN!!! Her mother sat outside the door of a sleazy motel listening to her daughters screams while the drug dealer raped her so mom could afford her next high.... she had nobody to serve as her protector.

      I am a foster mother because its MY JOB to be a voice for these innocent children! It's MY JOB to love them, and care for them unconditionally-whether they want me to, or not. It's MY JOB to keep them safe, and let them live out whatever is left of their childhood. It's MY JOB to care!! That is why I choose to foster.

      Mama Foster - Long ago, in a land far far away my husband and I decided to try to adopt through foster care.  So far that has been unsuccessful.  We have fostered 5 children so far, one is still here, 2 JUST left and I am in contact with the parents of my first two that went home/were adopted.

      At this point I am not fostering to adopt.  The reason I continue to do this even after all of my worst fostering nightmares came true is because these kids NEED NON-CRAPPY foster homes to stay at while they have to be in foster care.  It is as simple as that.  I am basically to the point where I want to take adoption off the table so there is one less thing to hurt all of us when things don't go the way it seems like they should.
      BUT...there is just something about that call.  Something about that new little face.  Something about making those emotional connections with a child who isn't used to having...anything.  All those things have turned out to be very addicting to me.  I enjoy the good so much that it helps me ignore the bad.
      I love all my kids, and it seems that my love for the kids that used to call me "Mama" urges me on to keep my heart open to the new little loves that will end up calling me "Mama".  
      I foster, basically, because I don't know how to stop.  Nor do I want to.

      Kylee -  It’s those little moments that keep us going. The moments like last year, when the newly adopted 3-year old exclaimed on Christmas day “I have a FAMILY now”.  Or the moment in the courtroom when I got to hold tightly to my 5-year-old sister’s hand as she legally became a member of our family. They say you never know what you have until it is taken away from you, and I believe that many children in the foster care system have to experience what it is like to bounce around from foster family to foster family, having no place to call “home”.  To hear a 3-year-old utter those words, and to watch a 5-year-old slowly learn to trust us, makes all of those challenges entirely worth it. If we can give kids a forever home and security, then ever tear that was shed is entirely worth it.

      That’s why we do it. Not because it is always easy or fun (because it isn’t!), but because the Lord is using my family to bring healing into kids’ lives. We do it, because every morning we wake up to two sweet girls and two wild boys who are slowly learning the meaning of “family”. They are learning to trust and love us, even when all of the statistics are fighting against them.  Seeing that security and feeling the tension melt away from their lives, makes every minute worth it.

      Diane - Why do I do this?
      • Because these kids need and deserve my help.  
      • Because every child I help gets a taste of a loving family.
      • Because this is my passion and my calling to serve my Lord.
      • Because I love these kids.
      • Because I can!
      Moments that make everything worth it:
      • A sincere thank you from a birth parent.
      • A 17 month old “blob” who turns into an amazingly smart little boy.
      • An adoptive parent saying she could really tell how much her child was loved in my home.
      • An invitation to a child’s birthday party after she left my home.
      • Siblings who had to be split for adoption dividing differently (better) than the social workers initially planned based on my input.
      • A birth mom telling an agency to call me for information as she abandoned her child in another state.
      • My adopted child telling me I’m the best mom ever.
      • A four year old blossoming after receiving dental treatment that let her whole body heal from system wide infection.
      • Another foster parent asking for advice and being able to answer a question.
      • A child who left three years prior hugging me and saying she loved and missed me.
      • A biological extended relative telling me my home is the best place for a child.
      • A birth dad saying he can tell I love Jesus because of what I do.
      • A toddler going from not verbalizing to speaking in sentences in less than three months after getting tubes put in her ears.
      • My children at home welcoming me when I return after work each day.
      Foster parenting is not easy, but it is worth it!

      Debbie - April 15, 2008 we were told that we had been matched with our daughter. We were adopting via domestic infant adoption and she was born a few days earlier. Another week to get all the paperwork and formalities taken care of and she came home when she was 16 days old. During those 16 days she stayed with a foster family from our agency. Their love and dedication for her in those short weeks touched us so much. They gave us a long letter with details about 2 weeks and about a dozen pictures. Even offered to give me her umbilical cord stump (which I declined). We're lucky enough to still be in touch with them so they get to see her grow up.

      It was from that experience that we knew that one day we could do the same for someone. We could care for a child while a plan is made. So while our families think we're crazy we hope to one day be handing a baby or young child, over to his or her new adoptive parents. We know how scared so many are of the risk in fostering and we're open to that risk of having our hearts broken for a child. So we're willing to say no to adoption so another family can adopt their long awaited child. Of course one day we will say yes to adoption of the child in our home, but I hope we're able to see many children return home maybe a few even adopted. So that's why we decided to foster.

      aka. Mimi - So why do I do this?  Soooo many reasons... 
      • The occassional "thank you's" from the people who matter most
      • Watching a baby sleeping peacefully in their crib, and knowing that while they are with me, they won't have to worry.
      • Hearing my former foster daughter repeat things that I had told her and realizing that she really was paying attention (even when I felt like I was talking to brick wall at times ;-).
      But I think I'll explain this one mostly in pictures.  :-) 

      Being included in moments like this... 
      When a former foster son met his baby sister for the very first time...

      Watching a timid, self-soothing 11-month-old baby girl blossom into a happy, smiling little thing in a matter of six short weeks...

      The open-mouthed kisses of an excited toddler...

      Being a part of allowing a 16-year-old getting to do something fun and carefree for the first time in her life...

      Weekend fun with past and present kiddos...

      There are many, many times when the crazy world of foster care seems too much to handle.  But I look at times like these, and I know that (even if just for that one moment) there is a child in this world who is safe, loved, and happy because I chose to say, "Yes, I can do this!"


      Pipsylou said...

      I posted mine on my blog and linked you!

      Endless Love ~ Amazing Grace said...

      Sorry I did not get mine to you in time.....

      FootPrints said...


      Foster Mamalion said...

      Wow! That was SO awesome. Now I will have to write one of my own on my blog. Very beautifully written by everyone! I wholeheartedly agrees. Our reasons may have changed, but hey get stronger as we go!

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