For nearly as long as I can remember, foster care and adoption has been a part of my life. My parents fostered and adopted, many of their friends throughout the years have had open homes and found forever families, and the first thing we really did as a couple was become a licensed foster home.
I have spent most of my life wanting to provide a home in transition for children. God had different plans though. Suddenly, our first four placements went from being short term to all being long term placements. Then, we were pregnant. (Yes, it was intentional, yes we know where babies come from, but we didn’t expect it to happen so quickly or easily, especially the second time around.)
And now, three years after being licensed as foster parents, we are on a hiatus for an unknown amount of time.
My hands are full. I know, we will be adding the sixth in March and technically our 19 year old isn’t really “keeping my hands full”…but my hand are full. I know my limits and I know what I can’t handle. While logistically speaking, I could probably handle another foster child for the few months until Bear comes…that’s also not logical. Foster care is a forever changing and flowing situations. We have no way of knowing if the child we say yes to today or tomorrow will be here until Christmas or Easter…or Thanksgiving of next year. As much as I love fostering, the challenges that come with a foster child are different tan a newborn. There’s behavioral, developmental, etc things that we don’t know about until they’re in our home. And then, can I really bring myself to make a child move a second time in a week because behaviors we can’t handle exist? No. I couldn’t. So we are acknowledging that as the stay at home, full time mom, blogger and ministry worker, and being pregnant; my hands cannot hold any more surprises or unknowns.
My rooms are full. We truly can only fit in maybe one more child who is a specific age, legally speaking. Personal space is something our children deserve and I cannot ask them to share what has been made there’s over the past year. And with them on my mind is our second “family” reasons…
My kids are done. So many foster families out there will roll their eyes at this one. “But there are kids who need it! They NEED YOU.” My forever kids need me too. I grew up in a home that did foster care, and I know how hard it is to sit through those revolving doors. When our last short term placement left, it was very hard on my children. As an adult, I signed up for this lifestyle. I knew 100% what I was getting into, possibly more so than most foster parents since I studied to be a social worker. My kids didn’t sign up for this. While the children still in the foster care system need a stable home…so do our forever children. And after the last short term placement, we had basically decided not to put them through that again.
So, we are walking away from foster care, with full hands and fuller hearts. While we are closing our home, my heart breaks knowing the need out there. Children are always deserving of homes and while my family can no longer provide that, I encourage everyone who is able to foster. I will also have a friday soon that highlights ways to help children and adults within the child protective services…even if you cannot house a child in need!
If you ever have any questions about fostering, please feel free to contact me. I will happily help you become involved.