Foster Parenting - Log #12


Last Friday night we received a call. The clock read 10:41 pm. It was our foster placement worker.

"I have a 4-year-old boy that we need to find a place for. Not sure how long it'll be. There's also a baby sibling, but the baby is in the hospital with broken bones right now. Won't be released for a day or two. There's also a 1-year-old sibling, but that child is going with the father. Different fathers of the different kids, you know. So do you think you could take the 4-year-old at this point and possibly the baby?"

Whoa! Slow down.

A baby, with broken bones?! Let me just stop and think about that, feel that for a minute. A baby. Abused to the point of broken bones. Oh my! And a 4-year-old brother who likely witnessed the abuse. And may be abused as well.

These are moments when your eyes fill with tears, your heart skips a beat and you remind yourself to breathe. My heart was filled with compassion for these children. I cannot even imagine what they have lived through and their short lifetimes.

And yet, I told her that we could not take them.

This was less than 10 hours from when my daughter and I were headed to Girl Scout camp for the weekend and I was a chaperone. My husband was planning some special alone-time with our son. The timing was off. We had obligations we couldn't back out of. Yet if that same call came a few days later, we absolutely would have said yes.

Compassion. Heart-strings. Wisdom. Counting the cost. Wanting to say yes but knowing that you can't handle that reality at this moment.

So we have turned down a foster care placement... for the second time. It is not easy. I doubt it will get any easier.

From the beginning of our foster parenting journey, I have mentioned this prayer request - for wisdom in the moment when we get these calls. You have approximately 10 seconds to weigh both sides and make a decision, to pray for a clear answer. To make a decision that will impact your family and these foster children for possibly a lifetime. You have 10 seconds to think it through. In this situation, it wasn't the foster kids that affected the decision at all (they're too old, too young, too this or too that) but rather it was our family's plans. It was our personal reasons that had nothing to do with those kids.

This is part of the reality of foster parenting. We wait for months and don't get any calls. For most of the fall and spring, I have kept our calendar clear and not committed to much. As of April we decided that we couldn't put life on hold while we waited for a call that seemed to never come. So we started doing things again - taking field trips, joined Girl Scouts, planned a few camping trips for the summer. Now I'm wondering again about balance - how much is enough, how much is too much. Obviously we don't want to be so busy that we continually say no to foster placements, yet we have to live life with the kids we have and make some plans.

Foster parenting. It's a new reality. We're still adjusting to it.


Bella said...

I was super excited to see that Fostering Hope picture when I visited your blog. :)

It is so hard to say no, especially when you've been waiting for so long... I bet, though, that all of this will make your next placement feel even more special! :)

Also, I was just curious: what is your family profile as to ages of kids you'll take? Are you licensed to take medically challenged children?

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