Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Emergency Foster Care


About a month or so ago, we called our caseworker at the county (we adopted our two youngest through the county foster care system), to let her know that we'd like to give emergency foster care a try. We had a few motives behind this.

Number one: We also put in our application to adopt another child, and we wanted to see how we would do and how the little ones would do with a baby in the home again. (We got our little girl when she was 2 months old, and got our little boy when he was 18 months).

Number two: We wanted to see how emergency foster care works, and how it goes, so that we are more prepared to share this information with others who might consider doing this.

Number three: Even though my selfish flesh says "No more kids! We're done!", both Papa Bear and I feel that God has called us to take care of these little ones who need a safe, loving place to be cared for, while their parents aren't able to care for them.

If it were up to me alone, I would say no more. I am 41 and my two little ones, plus my teenager are ENOUGH! Having two special needs kids is tough (our girlie is not special needs, but she is a bit spicy, so you can see where this would make me tired, and make me say now more, right?). Then, when you throw into the mix an infant whose sleep pattern and feeding pattern you do not know, who isn't used to being away from their mama, life gets very interesting.

This past Sunday, we got our very first emergency foster care child. We had gotten calls twice before, and we said yes, but for one reason or another, we didn't actually end up getting the kiddos. Sunday night, we got a call about a 2 month old baby whose parents got arrested. They said there was a possibility of the paternal grandma getting custody, but she needed to go through the whole application/background check process first. We wouldn't know how long this baby would be with us. Papa Bear went to Target before the caseworker on duty brought the baby. We needed bottles, formula (we were told which one to get), diapers, etc. You never know what age you'll get, so it's kind of tough to be prepared in advance with everything you might need. (I could have used a bouncy seat! I think we'll be getting one for the future!)

People (my mom) have warned us about how easy it is to get attached, and how it breaks your heart when they go back home, but this wasn't the case for us. I think God was protecting our hearts, because we knew this baby would be going "home". It was kind of weird, but it was easy to take this baby to the grandma yesterday. I think if it was a baby that we had been told was up for adoption, and we would be doing a concurrent foster/adopt situation, it would have been tough, but it wasn't like that at all.

Yesterday, my husband shared with me an article written by Pastor Rob Tims, a pastor whose family does foster care, and I believe is trying to adopt. It was about having a ministry of reconciliation. I had never thought about that in regards to foster care. I just figured, we were following God's command to "care for widows and orphans". I encourage you to read the article (linked above). If you are a Christian, we have a duty to care for these little ones. It's not easy. Especially when you want to sleep. It's not easy when you have a little one who is "the princess", the baby of the house. Sometimes it may not be convenient, because you have things you want to do, without having an extra person to bring along. But God will give you the grace you need. All you have to do is ask. I could feel the effects of the prayers being prayed by friends from all over the US, who knew we had gotten this baby.

Be prepared to love on the child you get. But do not harbor resentment in your hearts toward the parents, grandparents, or whoever else is involved. Do not expect them to gush over you and thank you, thank you, thank you for caring for their child/grandchild. Do not expect them to even want to look you in the eye or talk graciously with you. It's ok. They're hurting. Mistakes have been made, that resulted in them losing their family member, even though for a short time. They're not going to want to be your friend. In fact, they may even see you as the enemy. They may think you are just in this for the money (if they even know that you get paid to do this...which, if they knew how much you got paid, versus how much you spent on diapers, etc., they would realize that it's NOT about the money!). They may think you are trying to "parent" their child or grandchild. They may feel guilty. My advice? Pray for them, and pray that you will not have ill feelings toward them for ANY reason. We are to love. We are to be available to care for these little ones, no matter the reason. And we can and will for as long as God allows us to do so.

Oh, and go love on your own kids or grandkids, and never take them for granted!

Sorry about the VERY long post, but I really felt the need to write about our experience.

Have a blessed day in Christ,

Mama Bear

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