“100 years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the type of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove, but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”
There was a time in my life when I thought…no. There is no way I could possibly be open to adopting through foster care. For me it was all down to the risk of reunification. To get a child in the age range we wanted, without substantial medical needs, the only domestic option was fostering (in the hopes of) adopting. In Wake county, there is no “foster TO adopt.” Therefore, that risk? It’s huge. Which is why we pursued international adoption. Which is why I got sick of the domestic v. international argument REAL fast. “There are just so many children waiting in America.” Yes, there are. There ARE many kids that are in the foster system, with courts presiding over their cases that will always choose biological ties (ANY biological ties) over you. Regardless of how long you have taken care of that child, or loved that child.
Last night Rich and I went to a foster care/adoption meeting held at the Department of Social Services. I knew that in order to get a child in the age range we want (they want you to get children in birth order), simply adopting a waiting child wasn’t feasible for us. The only kids in the age range we want without significant medical needs are kids in foster care, whose parental rights have not yet been terminated. Therefore, over the past month or so, Rich and I have done a lot of research and talked to a lot of foster parents in order to get our heads around the idea of fostering with the intent to adopt. My daughter’s second grade teacher is a foster mom, and I was able to have a long conversation with her expressing my fears. She was awesome and so encouraging. She really was instrumental in getting me from the “um, no” stage to the “okay, well, maybe as a means to an end.”
So going into the meeting last night, that’s where my heart was. I saw fostering as a means to an end; the end, of course, being adoption. I walked in there and I was intimidated. Big building, lots of people. Lots of information right off the bat. And then a friend of mine from church (who has adopted twice from foster care) dropped in and sat down next to me. And then another couple from our church showed up. And then another. And pretty soon I had support and love surrounding me. There was a point in the meeting when they asked those who were NOT interested in fostering and ONLY interested in adoption to leave and go into the next room. A pretty big part of me wanted to flee with those people. Not be confronted with the rules of foster care. With the stories you hear about kids being taken from your house after they’ve become part of your family. Somewhere safe. But then, when has God EVER asked me to play it safe? When has my life EVER been a straight line? When does life NEVER hurt, when is life NEVER a roller coaster, when does life NEVER include risks? When we’re dead, I guess. And in that moment, I knew. All this time I’ve said, “I can’t be a foster parent. That will be too traumatic.” I have always had a choice. Then I thought about all those kids who are being traumatically ripped away from the only family they’ve ever known. They never get a choice.
I stayed in my chair.
By the end of that meeting, something remarkable happened. We are still going to foster with the intent to adopt. But sometime during that meeting, the state of my heart changed. I no longer see it as simply a means to an end, though I still am praying for that end. So many times since we pulled out of the Uganda program I have wondered why God led us down a road with a dead end. I believe there are many reasons, but I knew last night that THIS was one of them. One road had to end in order for me to consider another.
One of the things in Uganda that really burdened Richard and I were the street children. We prayed about how we could help those children that have parents, but have been forced onto the streets due to abuse, neglect, poverty, or addiction. Last night I realized that foster kids are America’s street children. The only difference is that in America we have the CPS and a system that places children into temporary homes. What if that wasn’t there?
Pray for us as we start walking down the road to foster care. It will take a while to get licensed, but we appreciate any and all the support we can get. Thanks for continuing to follow our journey.