When we were married, we wanted children right away. It didn’t happen.
Three years into marriage. Lots of failed fertility treatments and thousands of dollars later we walked into our first foster training class, commonly called MAPP. We weren’t positive about which direction we were heading. Did we want to foster only? Did we want to adopt? And if yes to either of these questions, then what age and sex of child were we hoping to parent? And would we be willing also to bring home a sibling group?
Part of our indecisiveness rested on our lack of knowledge about the children in foster care and about how we as a married couple would respond to parenting a child that was not biologically our own. What we did know was: we wanted to parent, we wanted children to help care for, and we were willing to help a child needing a little extra attention.
I actually grew up in a home with foster children. My parents fostered a teen boy, and two little girls at separate times during my life. And I LOVED those little girls. The void I felt when they left our home was big. But even then, with that experience, I wasn’t sure how as a couple we would handle fostering.
Before long we had finished MAPP, we had completed our home study, and we were beginning to understand the needs associated with not only the children in the system but also with their families.
A common myth associated with foster care is that there is something “wrong” with the children in foster care, that they are irrevocably damaged and beyond hope. The truth is that children are in foster care at no fault of their own. It is not because of something they did or did not do, but because their parents or guardians were unable to care for them.
This realization hit home the night a case manager brought us our first child— a small 13 month old boy, so small he was wearing a 3 month old outfit. He came to us with a fever, head cold, and one diaper.
We knew right away that not only could we foster him, but we would be willing to adopt any child that walked through our doors. And that is pretty much a rule for every child that walks in our home. If you are here, you are here for forever or until you are reunified.
Today, my husband and I are blessed beyond measure because we have realized the calling in our lives for the children in foster care. As foster parents we have a unique opportunity to love on a child and to show him the love of Jesus.
We have welcomed newborns to teens in our home and enjoyed each one. For six months we were blessed to help guide and foster a pregnant teen. She was one of our favorites. Because she was so much older than most of our children, she was able to leave our home with a much better understanding on how a healthy family looks and how two adults can argue without screaming and throwing things at one another. Words from her mouth.