What I realized this weekend, ok let me be honest what I've realized since starting this process is the INSANE need every state has for GOOD foster parents. Not adequate. Not sufficient. Not three hots and a cot. But genuine foster parents who are willing to trade in their fear of "becoming too attached" in order to provide hope for kids who in this exact moment in their lives need hope. They need someone to love them and not expect anything in return. This weekend I realized that my kids live with adequate foster parent(s). I'm not being dramatic, I SAW their homes, information was relayed to me from reliable sources...they are not where they should be right now and I will not take this back when I say it but the state is turning a blind eye to kids in these situations but wait for it...it's not their fault. They have a need every day for foster homes and people simply aren't stepping up so when these kids are removed from tough situations and placed in a home where love isn't given freely and breakfast is not a requirement and neither is actual quality time the only difference is they aren't in grave danger. They are still in danger but not life threatening danger. My son was awoken late this morning (not his responsibility) after a late night watching some movie that he fell asleep to which involved some green bad guy with horns, not given breakfast, wearing the same clothes as yesterday, and was not given his medication, while the foster mom called him a turtle because he was moving so slow. Excuse me?! Let me see how fast you move when you're given a whopping five minutes to get ready and get out the door...FOR THE LOVE! Every time we picked him up and dropped him off his foster mom wasn't there or had only just arrived back home. The same person never answered the door and one girl I am 100% sure was hungover or strung out. I had to wonder when was the last time he brushed his teeth or took a bath? Was he wearing clean underwear? These realizations caused me to really focus on what the issue really is with foster care. It's not the states and their requirements because Lord knows everyone wants to blame the government. The real issue is people are being too fearful! They are afraid of the heartbreak associated with foster care and I'm hear to tell you it's real people! It's SO REAL. I will not guarantee that won't happen to you but as followers of Christ as ADULTS...WE should be able to take the hit when it comes to heartbreak because in all honesty when we avoid it we are placing that heartbreak into their sweet little child hands and asking them to deal with it because we can't. Because we WON'T. We make them a part of the system that is desperate for foster parents whether they are sub par or stellar. WE choose that for them when WE don't make ourselves a part of the solution. They didn't choose this sucky life for themselves, they didn't get to pick that their mother was a drug abuser who slept around and then called the hotline on herself because she couldn't handle her kids anymore. They didn't choose the anxiety that follows multiple placements which result in multiple schools and new house rules. They need us to do what the adults in their life have failed to do for them thus far...and that is provide hope. To love hard and not expect anything in return. To stand by them and know them when no one else does. To risk our hearts for them because WE ARE THE GROWN UPS. We know how to manage those feelings in our adult brains and WE will come out on the other side having learned what it's like to love hard. To love well. To love like He first loved us. To not expect anything in return. These precious littles need us to step up and take the risk. If we can do it better in our little corner of the world and change the way kids like my fantastic four are taken care of while waiting for their family to mend or for their new family to be ready then lets freaking do it. If you've ever thought about doing something like this then I am begging you, don't delay. Take that next step forward, Make that phone call and send that email.
I have said it before and I'll say it again not everyone should be foster/adoptive parents. While we are not called to do the same thing, we are all certainly called to do something. Offer to make a meal for foster parent friends who just took in a new placement, watch their bio kids while they take the foster child to a court hearing or doctor appointment, become someone who can provide respite care, donate supplies, or even offer to clean their house. All of these things can be done by anyone and all of these things help provide hope for them.
I am pleading with the fearful to become the fearless and provide hope for the hopeless.