Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Foster Care Q & A

These are the questions we are asked the most {like, daily} and I’d thought I share the general answers here:

1. Is it harder then you thought? Well, yes. But isn’t everything? And is anything really worth doing if it isn’t a challenge? I came across the paper we filled out with our old social worker when we went through the list of “what we can handle and what we can not”. Believe it or not, you go through a list with questions like “will you take a child with Down’s” or “will you take a child whose has been diagnosed with Bi-Polar disease” and it goes on and on. And I’ll tell you that is an awful feeling to answer “no” to some of the questions, because in your heart you want to take ALL children. But it was also very important for us to be effective, not overwhelmed {in theory anyway! HA!}. So, I was reviewing the list and we pretty much said yes to everything but major mental illness {ie: schizophrenic, etc.} and to illnesses which required in the home nursing, because obviously we are not equipped to deal with those sorts of things. And then there was one other thing: aggression. Next to the word was handwritten “light”. Our personalities are not aggressive; we’re quiet, calm, emotional people. And as I trusted God with the right child for our family I believed He understood our personalities and would find someone who fits. Then we met Jx2. And before I even had the opportunity to hug the little guy I was given a letter from his old daycare teacher and she used the word “aggression” in it about 5 times. I’ll admit little panic flags went off in my brain. But she also used words like happy and joyful and balls and laughter … and my goodness, folks, just one look at him and the smile will melt your heart. In retrospect, I must laugh at myself. Because as I watched this little boy run circles around my pastor’s house last night {literally} and explained that yes, he really does have that much energy all day, from the ‘good mornings’ to the ‘nights nights’ … I realized something. I love all of him! And even if I could, I would not change one thing about his personality. He is so loving it blows my mind. The aggression comes from a place that he should have never had to visit, from things he should have never had to deal with, but he’s working it out. And he’s learning so much. And he tries so hard. And I love every ounce of him, and would not change anything. So, I thank God that the word “light” was not paid any attention to when the placement was made, because my fears were unjustified. And I was right in trusting God with placement of a child, because the most wonderful little boy is now in our care, and he fits perfectly. So, yes it is harder then we thought {we’re often told that his personality & energy counts as having 2 kids – Ha!}. Not to mention the 2 social workers, lawyer and investigator we are now at the beck and call of. I don’t think I realized how many people were involved in this. And things get really busy right before a court date! Wow! Although I can say that our house has remained pretty clean with all of the visitors. But oh, how the rewards outweigh the challenges.

2. How can you love him knowing you will have to give him back?
I wish I had an easy answer for this, but I don’t. Here’s what I’ve learned: You just have to. You have to love them with your all, with everything, without fear and hesitation – that is the only way you will be effective as foster parents. I say this to people and then they usually respond with “I could never do it”, and I tell them “yes, you can”. The one thing our agency teaches from the get go is that you really can not be effective in anything if you’re holding back your heart. You need to fully give all of yourself. You can trust your God will be there when your heart breaks {because it will, and it will suck}. That’s the only way to do it folks. We’re lucky to be doing this with Greg & Bek, and we’re able to share the experiences and learn from each other and silently prepare for all of the what-if’s. These children {ALL children} belong to God alone and we’ve been selected to care for them for however long is necessary. In any family, you never know how long you have, and all you can do is hand over your heart and LOVE and trust in the end He will heal because you’ve faithfully done your work.

The other day I was thinking that the experience of becoming a foster parent for me was similar to the woman at the well. When Jesus approached she was probably thinking that she was the one providing the service {getting him a drink of water}. What can she offer Him? {Once they got past the whole Samaritan issue}. And in the end He was the one providing for her. {Jn4:14}”but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." And you know, reading through the whole story, it doesn’t seem that He ever got that drink of water – wonder if He was physically thirsty? Anyway, I think I approach a lot of things with ideas of how I can make myself available for Kingdom building. And I get to well, and with triumph proclaim “Here I am! What can I do for you now that I am here?” and as always, He’s there waiting for me, and He usually responds with “I am glad you made it. Look what I have, and look what I will do in you”. Amazing.

So, I want to leave you with a few little J-ism’s I’ve been meaning to share, just so you can do a bit of falling in love yourself:

--- Him and I were at the park one night about 2 weeks ago. We were running around being airplanes, when he plopped down on the ground and sat up against a light pole. I asked if he was “relaxin’” and he said “yup!”. A few minutes later he completely laid down in normal Jx2 fashion with his hands cupped behind his head and one leg propped up on the other. I asked if he was “tired” and he replied with “nope, I am thinkin’”
“You’re thinking?” … “Yup, mamma!”
Well, alrighty.

--- We had a new social worker come over last Friday night and she made a comment implying that it was time for her to get going. He ran over, picked up her purse, handed it to her and loudly proclaimed “BYE! BYE!”. Good thing she has an awesome sense of humor, and told him she wouldn't let the door hit her on the way out ...

--- And, my favorite (HA!) is the “mamma! Where’s daddy?” over and over and over and over and over the whole drive home from daycare. Sometimes he throws in “I love my daddy” “Is that daddy’s car?” “Is daddy at work?” “Daddy play b-ball” “Daddy eat with me”, with a soon after “Momma! Where’s daddy?” Really, the whole stinkin’ way home. He'll call a person caring for him mamma {man or woman!}, but daddy is a special term for his favorite man - :-)

Wow, sorry – that was super long!


  1. That was so awesome, Traci. You are so right - they are not ours - none of them...just on loan for a short...time.

  2. Awesome stuff.. and you really do have an awesome little man there...a perfect fit for sure!

  3. I'm loving this journey of yours,and grateful to be a part of it...
    Thank you for the insight of the woman at the well... that resonates with me.
    Love you, girl!