She was 2; eyes that told a deep story, vocabulary of a 6 year old, determination of a teenager and the life experience of an adult.
We met on Mother's Day weekend, her current foster family needed a babysitter and without hesitation, we said yes. When we returned her to the current foster home, they told us they could no longer care for her. We soon found out through the social worker, the little girl was being moved to her 7th home. This didn't set well with us. How could we sit back and watch a human life -during the most developmental time- be passed around like a used toy.
We knew what Scripture said and so we stepped up and became her 8th home. We promised her a permanent home until she could be reunited with her first parents or until we could adopt her. A promise was all she needed to thrive, to become a child again and to leave all her adult worries and insecurities behind.
After 3 years of being her foster family, we got the honor of adopting her. That was just the beginning of our life serving the backyard orphan- foster kids.
Foster care has taught us everything. Before taking our daughter, her social worker was very clear on all the reasons previous homes had "returned" her. We prayed for God to equip us for what we were about to walk into...He did! However, the one thing that we were not prepared for was the emotions that come along with an involuntary adoption. I guess before entering foster care, our hearts were only broken for the children, but the longer we were a part of the foster adopt process, the more our hearts ached for our children's first parents, whom were unequipped to care for their children.
Becoming a foster family is not a scary thing for our/your bio children (we get that comment everyday), it's a hands-on ministry, learning compassion, extending grace and living the gospel in our home. How blessed are our bio children to get this life experience at such a young age. There's not nearly enough homes open to house foster kids which leads to most foster parents over extending themselves and taking on more and more kids. In California alone, there are 62,097 foster kids - but that number changes everyday.
If you live in California, now is the time. Please, step up! We have 22,798 churches in our state and 13,091 adoptable foster kids -orphans. However, if you don't feel like adoption is for your family, there are so many other things you can do to help the crisis. Two very impactful ways are; become a Volunteer CASA worker, or preserve families-prevent moms from loosing their children to foster care. How you ask? We have started a ministry in our neighborhood for teen moms. We love them and equip them to be successful mothers and productive citizens because better moms WILL make a better world and less foster children. Young moms are craving attention, they want to be discipled, they want to know better, they want to do better, they want to keep their kids, they just don't know how. Hold their hand, take the time to let them watch you be a mom, invest in the life of one young mom for the sake of her child.
(Above photo by Mary McLeod)