The lunacy that is foster care

I have a confession. Each time my home and family has to undergo the scrutiny of having the Office of Licensing come through and dictate everything from our water temperature to the location of my laundry detergent, I am challenged to remember what moment of absolute lunacy lead us to become a licensed foster family? I mean seriously I must be mad?

If insanity is described as trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; the reality is being a foster parent IS literal insanity. There must be a willingness – a sort of submission to this lunacy – to lay all of this down and do as instructed to be able to stand in the gap for children in need.

You won’t hear me or any of the Miriam’s Heart team tell you that it is easy. You won’t hear us say that being a foster parent was fair (to us, to the children and to their families). You won’t hear us loving the idea of complete strangers walking in and out of our homes on a moment’s notice without regard for the natural rhythms of our lives. We won’t sugar coat the hypocrisy. We won’t pretend that it is easy to send kiddos back into the hands that once harmed them. We won’t say that Judges always make good decisions; the right thing is always done and the outcomes were worth it. We won’t say we aren’t scared that each placement could harm the other little ones in our care. We’ll tell you of times we thought a child might be with us forever, only to have the plans change and the process to reunify them with their abusers begin. We will talk of late night calls that moved us to clear off an empty dresser and change the sheets on an extra bed – only to have the child go elsewhere. We will grieve over breathtakingly young foster youths already pregnant with what will likely be the next generation of vulnerable children. We will talk of burns, broken bones, and abuses beyond our imagination directed at the smallest, most vulnerable children. We tell stories of neglect many would attribute to developing nations, that many wouldn’t believe happen right here in America.

And with all of that we have seen foster youth graduating and preparing to head off to college. We have seen them sharing their stories to educate families and bring about healing. We have seen children who waited for years find solace in a forever family. We have had the honor of helping families stay together by offering support. We have watched teen moms learn to provide and care for their young children. We have seen families partner together to make sure that children are transitioned in and out of respite, needs are met and children provided for. We’ve seen churches mobilize to press in to support a family in need. We’ve seen Case workers and Resource workers showing genuine compassion and going the extra mile, to make sure a child is placed into a safe home. Yes in all of this, we have also seen forgiveness, redemption, healing and restoration. We have seen the Divine.

Yes, you see it is in the laying down of our lives that you will begin to understand why despite all that we have seen and heard, one might continue to have their home licensed to meet the needs of children and families.

We accept the calling to be foster families.

Believe us when we say DO NOT become licensed for any reason less than a calling to do so. But if you feel that nudging – that pressing feeling that despite the chaos all around you – the thought of becoming a foster family brings you an inner peace and a sense of excitement –  where one might otherwise be consumed with fear – we invite you to join us. Lay all of this down and do as instructed so you are able to stand in the gap for children in need. And in doing this you will find yourself drawing closer to your Creator and finding a part of your soul that you may not have experienced before.

For if we are to look crazy – completely out of our minds – let it be to the glory of God. Let us press on with our eyes on Him, as we lay all of the lunacy down for the sake of the most vulnerable and stand with resolve on behalf of children and families.

National Foster Care Month (1)

But if you give up your life for my sake, you will find it. – Jesus

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