Monday, January 02, 2012

Why Foster Care?

I realize that many of you may have questions about why John & I are progressing down the route of caring for foster children. Hopefully this post will answer some of those questions.

What type of children are in foster care?
Children who are in foster care have usually been removed from their parents custody because of abuse or neglect. All ages of children are in foster care. The purpose is always for the parents to work toward reunification and they usually have about a year to do so. If they don't fulfill the requirements, their rights are terminated and the child becomes available for adoption. (This is the most straightforward explaination, however, there are about a million variants in individualt cases.)

Are you struggling with infertility?
Yes and No! Shortly after getting married we found out that I had a congenital defect resulting in a malformed uterus which would make it impossible to carry a pregnancy. Two surgeries later I supposedly have a safe womb. However, there have been many bumps along the way that have forced us to reflect on what it best for us and how might God have already planned to put our family together. This opened our hearts to pursuing this journey toward foster care and adoption.

Why foster care?
Foster care was something that we talked about before we got engaged (initiated by me, Christine). For many year before I was married I wondered if my calling in life was only to love and care for other people's children (through my vocational ministries and relationship with families). I was much at peace with this idea. Foster care was modeled for me at the youngest age. My grandparents had over 100 foster children in their care. I can remember playing with them when I was a little girl. I worked with foster kids in a group home when I was just out of college. For years I have envied the many families I've known who have done Bethany Cradle Care (caring for infants before they are placed in adoptive homes). Foster care was just always something I hoped to do in life. I also loved the idea of adoption. Foster care and adoption after biological children. John was open to the idea though he also thought it would follow having biological children. The Lord used some hard struggles to help us accept that the picture we had in our head may not actually be what He has drawn for us. Slowly our hearts began to change and we were led to pursuing foster care now. Sometimes all it takes are the simple words of a friend to change your persepctive a great deal.

What if you get too attached?
This is a common question, along with the comment "I would get too attached.". Turns out that attachment is the purpose of foster care! While children are not with their parents they need to form loving and secure bonds with their primary caregivers. They need to know that they can trust you and that you will care for them. Healthy attachment  is the best thing that can happen in a foster family. The hard part is letting go. And it will be hard. Maybe too hard. It just makes me think "I'm so glad that John is my partner in this adventure." Sure and steady John.
For a good rant on foster attachment, read this.

This post is too long already! That's all for now (though I always have more to say).


sarah said...

I love this post!!! LOVE it!! my brother is director of youth for christ in port orchard and he and his wife currently have their first "long" term foster child-we adore her. she is hard, has issues and a really hard life but she is part of our family for as long as the Lord allows. I love your comment that you would get too attached-so true!! I know it will be hard on the heart, but what an amazing ministry and blessing you will be for these children. so excited for this new chapter for you!!

Corrin said...

I'm so proud of you and can't wait to meet your first little one, whenever that might be.

Agnes Brough said...

Christine - I think this is wonderful. And I'm really glad the blog is resurrected. lots of love to you both

Lora said...

I am so happy to be reading your blog again. Thank you for sharing your heart and I can't express how excited I am for you and John!

Anonymous said...

I've just finished reading the book, "I Beat The Odds - From Homelessness to The Blind Side" by Michael Oher. The movie "The Blind Side" was based on his life. He & his brothers & sisters were continually abandoned and were put into the foster care system for many years. He wrote the book for people to understand what happens to everyone involved but especially the children. A quick read because I couldn't put the book down because it does have a happy ending. It's written to help people interested in foster care, professionals, etc.

I know it won't be easy but it sounds like the Lord is calling. Thanks for sharing.

Martha Lovelady Hansen