Foster Parenting - Log #16


Don't get too excited! This "log" isn't to announce that we have any new foster children with us. It's a bummer, I know! This is a lengthy post, but I wanted to share three specific things that are on my mind these days as it relates to fostering.


We haven't any calls or children since Candace (not her real name) was with us earlier this month. I'm not sure why it is so, but seeing her go was very hard. My kids struggled with her leaving at the time, but moved on fairly quickly. For me, though, it's been difficult. She was such a sweet little thing and she captivated my heart.

When Candace came, she had nothing. She was in hospital pajamas when we picked her up from the hospital. She had no other clothes or shoes. The hospital gave us a few diapers, a sippy cup and 2 small stuffed animals that Candace clung to. They were the only thing she had that felt like "home" to her.

She wasn't with us long enough for the state to issue a "clothing voucher." A clothing voucher is like a gift card that is set aside specifically for this foster child and has an amount attached to it and a specific store that will accept the voucher. If the foster child is a long-term placement and has no clothing, the state will cover the expense. If the foster child is a short-term placement, they will not. Candace ended up being a short-term placement so she was not provided a clothing voucher.

This is a situation where I was glad that others before me had thought to stockpile some clothes. My mother-in-law has been saving for 15+ years the grandkids' clothes. They have always been boxed and labeled per size and gender (like Girls 2T or Boys 6-9 months). A year ago all of these boxes came to my house to be stored. I have since systematically worked through the boxes - pitching some items that were ripped or stained, selling those that were worth anything at consignment shops or garage sales, and keeping those items that were most practical to re-use.

When we got the call to foster Candace, I was able to immediately pull out some clothes and wash them. By the time we went to the hospital to pick her up, I had a dozen clean outfits for her. As much as I sometimes dislike being the storage house for all those clothes... the hand-me-downs are handy for other kids that come along and I have always thought they would be a perfect thing to have if we ever became foster parents. And now I can attest to that fact!

Although I sent a few outfits home with her when she left, I still had clothes to return to their boxes. I've been putting that off. I also have some paperwork on Candace to file here, which I've been putting off. Somehow closing this short chapter has been more difficult than the other short fostering chapters of my life. Yet attachment is a good thing. Feeling something for Candace is a good thing - she was loved and that is part of what fostering is all about!


It is unusual to get an update on how things are going for a previous foster child. However, we did hear recently that things are not going well for CJ - our first ever foster child (you can read more about him and our experience in the earliest logs by clicking on the "Foster Parenting" label on the right sidebar of this blog). When CJ left our home, he was headed for his grandmother's guardianship. However, she was unable to handle him. He has been back in foster care and has gone from one home to another and will soon be placed in a residential treatment facility. Although I'm not terribly surprised, because he was a big handful that we couldn't handle either, I am sad to hear that things are going this way for him. Please join us in praying for him.


I have a picture frame collage hanging in the hall. As each one of our foster children have come into our home, I've taken plenty of pictures (as I do with my own kids). I have printed the best picture of each one and put them in this collage. Just that one picture of each smiling face brings back so many memories of the times we shared together.

We have only had 4 foster children in our home, so far. And yet I stand in awe of how God brought us to the place of welcoming them into our home; how we otherwise would never have met or known these specific children; how we were able to be a small part of their life story and provide glimmers of hope for their lives.

No matter what the future holds for us as far as fostering goes, I am so very thankful for the small role we've played in these children's lives. I count it a privilege to be called a foster parent.

It would be easy to put off fostering for another season of our lives. We could come up with excuses. We have young children already. We could wait until they are older or out of the house. We could wait until we have more income. But two responses come to mind:

James 4:17 says "If anyone then knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them." We knew this is what we are called to. We knew God was leading us in this direction, so for us it would've been disobedience and sin to not pursue it.

Also, this quote: "If not us, who? If not now, when?" If not us who have a loving home and room to spare, then who? If not us who have a committed marriage and love children, then who? Do we leave the job of orphan care to others? If not the followers of the very compassionate, loving Christ... then who will take it on? If not now when we are already handling young children and their daily issues and care, then when? When we are too old and lack the energy? When we have downsized our home and no longer have the room? Why put off til tomorrow the good we could do today?

And so we obeyed the call. We stepped out and have seen the first fruits of our labors in fostering. Our lives have been enriched. We've been challenged, but blessed. The path of obedience is rarely easy, but it is one of great blessing as God's grace is upon you for the task. What a wonderful place to be - right where He leads you!

What is God calling you to do? Are you putting it off or embracing the adventure? The time is now! The person is you! Go after it, with His enabling, and see what wonderful things He has in store!


Bella said...

I must admit that when I scrolled down and saw the Foster Parenting Log photo, I literelly said outloud, "yes!" :)

Even if there wasn't a new little one living in your home, this really was such a great post! I really loved how you brought up James 4:17.

Thanks for the updates on the kids. That is so sad about CJ. It's tough to see kids like that bounce around, and then end up moving to residential treatment centers. Praying for him...

While it's not always easy, I agree that fostering is SO worth it and such an honor! Thanks for putting so much of what we as foster parents feel into such great words. :)

Katie said...

Again, I just wanted to thank you for posting some of your journey with foster care! I've been working my way through your posts trying to get a feel for what it will be like.

My Heart Song said...

Thanks for the feed back, Bella and Katie! I'm glad the posts have been helpful. I know that foster parents can use the honesty and wisdom of others who have been down the road before them.

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