When children come into care, just the act of being taken from their parents causes distrust in adults and insecurities. So the children are learning to trust again. Trust, they will be cared for, not harmed, loved by everyone they knew and know and not be swept away from a home without notice again.
We have had so many people praying for us lately and I want to thank each and every one of you so very much. It means so much to us and we can feel God helping us every day. Just in the last week life has gotten so much easier. I would almost say it is going smoothly. "B" is almost potty trained during the day hours, even using the regular bathroom potty. I know...I rejoice about the strangest things! The toddlers are going to bed and fall sleep on their own at bedtime now. We are all getting good sleep and enough sleep. That in itself makes everyone have better days. God has been so good and I am beyond grateful.
So many people have been asking questions about how long the foster boys would be staying and if we would be adopting them, that in my last post, I explained a basic run down of the way the system works, to the best of my knowledge and experience, in our area. Just so you could see how complicated it all is and that nothing is cut and dry and no two cases flow the same. There are often many ups and downs, twists and turns in a case. There is no definite answer and only God knows for sure how things will end.
I know before we ever got involved in doing foster care, 18 years ago, we had no idea what the progression of a case was or the reasons why. We were fairly sheltered about it all and I honestly could not see a reason why any child should be taken from their mom or dad long term. After going thru the classes and having our first few cases...our eyes were opened and we saw for the first time a part of society many people never know of, are not involved with and don't want to think about. It is a hard and tiring job to be a foster parent physically. But even more so emotionally, as we invest our heart and strength into these children. We grow to love them so much, invest so much into them and worry about what environment they could be sent back into. It is very draining if we don't keep praying and handing the heaviness of it over to God to carry. Walking in Trust. Trusting God with everything. It can be a very hard thing to do at times. He is faithful. He has NEVER let us down.
Last post, I explained how long the two foster toddlers, we currently have, could stay with us. The answer was hopefully, Lord willing, for the duration of their case. For the time it takes for their case to run its course: (1) For mom or dad to do their case plan and they go home to either one of them, as they are not together anymore. (2) for a relative to step forward, have a back round check done and they go to live either temporarily or permanently with that relative. (3) For the mom or dad to not do their case plan at all, "termination of parental rights" to take place and for them to be placed up for adoption.
Are we going to adopt them if termination happens??? Hmmmm...that is a serious and long term forever decision.
I try not to think about that when we go thru a case because for me, to hope to adopt a child, I have to hope for a biological parent to fail. I am a mom myself. One of the things I pray, is to not fail as a parent. How could I ever pray for one to fail? But sometimes we do come to a place in a case, where things are not going well to reunify and DFCS asks us to start to think about adoption just in case.
When we retired from foster care, five years ago, we were burned out. Tired of hard cases, working with a broken system at times, bad decisions from those in authority. Tired of the constant unsettled part of foster care. We had a house full of wonderful young children that needed so much attention and care. We had also adopted five times by then. We, at that time in our life, decided to close and never go back. We were thru.
It took a while for us to get used to no more new children coming and going. For me to find my footing and identity as just a mom of the children we had. Really it did. I had an identity crisis. I knew I didn't want to go back to it but also had to get used to life being a bit more predictable and not living on an "adrenaline rush" all the time. Don't get me wrong. Life was still spicy enough. With surprise surgeries, lots of doctors appointments and a house full of children with needs to home school. Just more settled.
The kids grew and we enjoyed life. Every so often I would get what my husband calls "babyitis" Where my maternal instincts flare fiercely on me and I have a deep desire to parent more children. Babies, toddlers, children...I just notice them all around me when we are out in public and hope in my heart for more. Tim and I would talk about it. Once he even got me my poodle Pickles to try to fill the desire. Sweet sweet man that he is. But no more children ever came. I would pray hard and wrestle with these feelings till they would be subdued again for a season.
About two years ago or so Tim and I had been talking about our life, our age and whether or not to adopt again. We know the huge need there is for adopting children out there. We knew we felt more settle and our children were less medically fragile and most of them more independent. We knew we have the space and were still at an age, the Lord willing, we could raise at least one more child and give it a home. Though we are not rich with ,money, we know God always provides and we could care for another one. We prayed about it for a long time. We explored all the options for adoption and believed that foster care, once more, was were we needed to be.
We did foster care for 9 and a half years last time and lost count after over 40 children came thru our home. In that time, only 5 times did termination of parental rights happen and only in four of those cases we adopted. In all the other cases the children went home or were placed somewhere else. We knew just opening for foster care, the odds to have a case terminate was pretty small. So we re-opened, trusting God and praying fervently for God to bring to us children that needed our home and would fit well into our lives. We decided we would re-open and do foster care for as long and God led and if after that time no children were terminated on, God didn't want us to raise any more children but just be of service in this area...and if any cases did come to termination, we would trust God that He placed these children in our care specifically for us to adopt.
Our first placement upon reopening was a new born baby girl straight from the hospital. She stayed several days and we enjoyed her very much. It was as if God was breaking me in slowly. Letting me just bask in the baby love for several days. Praise God she has not come back into care and so things must be going well with her and her family. I pray for her and her parents every time I pray.
Our second case is the toddlers we have now. I can not go into great details now because it is an open case but might someday be able to share more. We shall see.
This case has been unique in that it is moving very quickly. The dad is not doing anything at all as far as a case plan. The mom has never showed up to court even once and has not complied with DFCS at all. The case is very young. We have only had the boys for three months and the case is already been moved from reunification to non-reunification. All relative placements, that are known, have been checked out and exhausted. They have told us to start to consider adoption because from the way things look and stand now, it is a very real possibility.
I am still praying for these little ones mom and dad. For salvation and for their lives to get back on track. I am praying for these boys. For them to know Jesus from a young age and live for God their whole lives. For recovery from neglect and that they will catch up mentally, physically and emotionally. For bad habits and behaviors to cease. For love and bonding to happen for them and us and for healing.
So... we come back to TRUST. To lay our lives on the line and trust God to have good plans for us and them. To lay our hearts on the line and trust God that this love will benefit us all, even if it hurts now or later. To trust God with all our existence and know He has this and will work all things together for good for those that love and serve Him. That if this case falls apart...That God intended "B" and "T" to stay and be part of our family and that God Himself will provide and help us the rest of our lives, just as He always has, to try to raise children as unto the Lord.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Psalm 56:3 What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.