In life, things can change quickly. I’m convinced no one understands this better than foster families. Learning to be flexible is a life skill that everyone should learn and we have had the privilege of practicing it A LOT.
After hanging up from a call that twin boys were on the way, we immediately scurried around trying to prepare our home and make sure we had what was needed. My first concern was finding a second crib. As we sent out texts and made lists, we received word they wouldn’t be coming after all. I believe things work out as they should, so we prayed for the boys, learned everything we could from the situation, and moved forward. It just wasn’t meant to be.
Weeks later, I received a call that a large sibling group had come into care. We were asked to keep two of the brothers and because of the severity of the situation I remember asking more questions than usual before I said yes. From the very beginning, I had concerns.
The DSS van pulled up in our driveway and I ran out to greet them. The boys, ages two and three, had clothes on that didn’t fit. They were as cute as could be and eager to come inside, but you could tell it had been a rough day. Timmy* and Owen* came into the house with nothing but bags of goodies that had just been given to them. It struck me that all Owen cared about was finding a place to sit down so he could look through his bag. It was filled with simple things like a toothbrush and toothpaste, a hair brush, a book, and a toy. That little bag eased the transition for Owen, and I was overcome with gratefulness for the kind soul that had put it together. It made such an impression on my heart I decided I would do my best to make sure other children coming into care received a bag of their own. What a thoughtful gift, one that is not only helpful for the child but also for the foster family!
For the most part, our evening moved along smoothly. Our neighbors learned we had new children with us, stopped by and brought us dinner. What a blessing! We showed the boys around the house, ate together, and played outside. We had no idea this was the deep calm before the storm. The following days would be some of the hardest, most challenging days of our foster journey. We have been blessed with many wonderful seasons over the years, but this wasn’t to be one of them. My heart still aches thinking back on this situation.
Those two adorable boys turned our home and our life upside down. We had to learn our limitations as foster parents, and that in some fostering situations, kids need more help than a family is able to accomplish. It’s easy to hope that love & stability will be enough to heal the hurts of a child’s heart. Some children who come into care have experienced enough trauma, they will need intensive interventions to set them on a path towards recovery. We didn’t know it at the time, but this would end up being the case for our boys. As gut wrenching as the coming months would end up being for our family, I’m grateful we were able to be a soft spot for the boys to land for a season before the next step in their journey towards wholeness and healing. There are so many unexpected outcomes in foster care, but one constant—things change.
It is amazing how much small items we take for granted in our every day lives mean to a child who has nothing else to call their own.
Want to learn more about ways that you can serve children in care? Not everyone can foster, but everyone can do something. Mentor. Tutor. Advocate.
Reach out to Care2Foster@fgi4kids.org for creative ways that you or your small group can make a difference in the lives of children in care or in the lives of the foster families caring for them. You can always reach out to your local DSS county office or your local Foster Parent Association. Contact your place of worship to see if they already have foster/adoptive family ministries.