Friday, April 30, 2010

Foster Care... lessons learned

I've been working a post for some time now about all the lessons the Lord has taught us through foster care.    When they left my house & they also left a whole in my heart.  It's taken some time to process through that whole year, but I'm now able to start to analyze some of it a more healthy manner.  I may not be given all the "whys," but here's what I got.  If you have more I'd be encouraged (so would my fellow foster parents) to hear it from an outside perspective...

  1. I couldn't figure out why the social workers seemed to be so flippant about the babies situation.  It hit me a few days ago that these two are a drop in the bucket to a much greater widespread problem in our society today.  They were nothing special to the courts.  They were special to me. They represented two lives thrown away without thought.  I can't live with that.  How can they push them aside like they don't matter?  I have an answer you won't like.  You might want to sit down for this one. I don't like it either.  We've failed.  We've gone too far down that road.  It's too late to turn back.  We've given the government a job that the church should have.  "Take care of the widows & orphans."  We've asked the government to do a jog that isn't theirs to do.  How can we love, truly love and help those who are so broken that they can't even care for, or worse yet mistreat, their own offspring without the Lord's help?  There are no answers for the parents or the children without God.  He's the only one who can mend the brokenhearted.  We can futilely try to put a band-aid on the devastation of the family, but that's like putting chewing gum on a dam about to break.  If you're not sick to your stomach with this reality, you're not human or you need a new heart.
  2. I sadly hit rock bottom toward the end.  I was so empty I couldn't look up.  I didn't have the capacity to ask for help at times.  I didn't know what or who could help me.  I knew I needed more than anyone could give, but I stopped asking God for help.  He seemed to be silent, so I believed I was being punished for my arrogance in taking on too much or there was a lesson I would have to endure through this to learn... I was humbled.  I was broken.  I have empathy for those who hit bottom for any reason now.  I saw myself in rocking in the corner as I stared out the window in a sanitarium & welcomed it more than feared it.  Knowing I'm just a few steps from there puts me on even ground with the world I live in. I'm no better than anyone else.  We're all equal at the foot of the cross. We all come as sinners.  I'm saved by grace just like the bum passed out on the sidewalk.  But for the grace of God I'm anyone of those people.
  3. I spent some time in a place I never thought I would get to where I refused to go to God anymore because I didn't like His answers.  He always answers, but not always the way I want.  He took me to a place I wouldn't have gone alone even though I felt alone... I wasn't. He might have said "no" to my appeals for release or "wait" but He did answer.  I wasn't angry with Him, but I stopped seeking Him.  It seemed futile.  
  4. The babies affected our hearts and changed the face of foster care.  They introduced so many of our friends and family, along with us, to the world we knew nothing about.  Many think of the foster kid that makes the paper because he set the house on fire, but seeing our babies put a new face on it.  The idea of adopting out of foster care isn't as scary or outrageous as it might have seemed before.  
  5. I can take care of my own children.  I was so overwhelmed with my own three that it seemed illogical to add to it, but we didn't get it either.  We just knew it was a road we needed to take.  We kind of hoped that there was someone in the classes we were supposed to meet rather than actually doing it, but nonetheless we followed.  Now as I sit at home with my three, it might be a bit crazy at times, but it is more often manageable than it was before there were two more babies here.  
  6. Maybe we talk about obedience, but needed to act on it in a tangible way.  We needed to step out in faith and obey against all odds.  Maybe others needed to see our obedience even when it looked crazy.  Maybe we had to obey even without the total support of family.  Maybe others will enter because, "If Andy and Allison can do it, anyone can."
  7. I was a rock star parent at one time.  I was prideful.  I am not now.  I sympathize with parents rather than judge them.  I can be much more help to other parents when I don't think I'm the perfect parent with all the answers.  I don't just see bad parents, but imagine the rest of their lives that put them where they are with the kind of kids they're raising.  
  8. I sure am less materialistic.  Stuff so didn't matter last year.  I was so busy surviving that I didn't have time to worry about appearances.  It all seemed to fade into the background.
  9. I can do much more than I ever could've before.  It's not a big deal to add a kid or two for a day or two (don't get any big ideas- I don't want your kids for a week!)  I can handle more than I thought I could.  I thought I was losing it, but it never "fully" happened.  
  10. I'm learning to be more of a Mary rather than a Martha.  It's easier for me to "do for Him" rather than "be with Him," but I need to be with Him in order to do for Him.  Just doing is pointless, discouraging and exhausting.  
I have a feeling I'll add to this list as time goes by, especially if the babies are the last ones we take.  We may be forced out of foster parenting as Abby's needs rise along with our eligibility to have her in our home with PCA's & be a licenced foster home.  All that will work itself out.  It would be ironic if we couldn't do it.  It would make our choice not to an easier pill to swallow.  We don't want to flake out.  Once again, I worry about what people will say.  I'll keep my eyes on Him.  Follow Him closer.  Know His voice.  Worry about what He thinks of me rather than the rest of the world.  Humbled...

1 comment:

  1. I never cease to be amazed by you.

    ReplyDelete

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