People get into fostering for a variety of reasons. My husband and I simultaneously felt “the call.” We simply wanted to help children. We didn’t have a clear picture of what that meant. But, as we were educated through fostering classes, we learned that the best thing for a child is to get into a stable living situation as soon as possible. Fostering-to-adopt fits that bill. A child is brought into a stable home until his or her fate is determined by a judge. This takes over a year = at least 365 days. If the rights of the bio parent/s are terminated or the parent/s relinquish their rights, then bingo, bango, the child is already in their forever home. The child already knows and has attached to caregivers…no more moving…no additional trauma. And then the healing begins. And continues. Throughout the child’s life.
And so, Phil and I signed up to foster-to-adopt. We wanted to help children. We were pretty clueless. We thought the children we were helping were…you know…children. Ah, but I am 44. Phil is 56. So, uh, turns out that the children our hearts bleed for are the parents. Let’s face it, an “older” mom in foster care is about 25. Yep, I so could easily have a 25-year-old daughter. But truly, most of the mammas are in their teens. So, yeah, our hearts bleed for these children who are having children…and are in desperate situations.
Granted, it took me a good 20 years of adulthood to shed MOST of my self-righteousness. Yeah, yeah, I still have hanger-on-er issues. But for the most part, I KNOW what I can do or say in desperate situations. And it ain’t purdy. I can be abusive. I have been abusive. To those I love so dearly. So I know, these young mammas love their babies. And hurt their babies. And make terrible decisions that leave lasting scars. And my heart breaks for the mammas and for the victims of their desperation.
And so Phil and I promise this…to these young parents…we promise:
- We will love your baby with all our hearts.
- We will hold and comfort your child when he or she cries for you.
- We will bring your child for visits and pray you have a wonderful time together.
- We will pray this precious child can come home to you.
- We will pray for you…we will pray you find forgiveness and peace and redemption.
- We will make sure to honor you and to encourage your child to do so as well…for as long as we care for your child.
- We will do whatever we can to help you reconcile this situation.
- We will hope for you!
- We will believe you can change.
- We will love you and fight for you…through fierce prayers and spiritual warfare.
- If the time comes, we will return your child with broken, happy hearts.
- If the time comes, we will love your baby as our very own…with broken, happy hearts.