Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Mixed Emotions of Foster care and Adoption

When we retired from foster care, in 2006, I was through.  I was exhausted.  Tim and I could not stay in it any longer.  We could not bring ourselves to go through, the years it took to navigate, even one more case from beginning to end.  At that time, we had just finished our last adoptions and tried to close.  I say tried to, as we kept telling DFCS we were closed and they kept calling anyways. 

We had worked with the system, in foster care and adoption, for almost 10 years and were beyond burnt out.  Our county had some very bad people at the top making all of the major decisions concerning children's lives, it was an emotional roller-coaster.  Tim and I both said we would NEVER go back.  Never go back to...the cases that seemed to go on forever, bringing more and more emotional harm to a child.  To the outrageous decisions of those in authority.  To the children sent back home, time and time again, just to see the same children enter into foster care, over and over again.  Every time they came back into care, they were even more lost and damaged.  Don't get me wrong.  There was so much good we saw as well.  There were several good cases with great outcomes and we did enjoy the children but over all, we could not go thru one more case or bare hearing the other foster parents share of theirs.  It was all just to hard to hear and know about anymore.

There is no good way to handle abuse and neglect of a child.  We live in such a wicked, sinful, fallen world.  The system that was created to work and protect children does not always function properly.  The workers are so over worked and under funded.  The children so broken.  The families...their stories so horrible.  I can not grasp substance abuse and addiction, as by the grace of God, I have never had to live with it in my life.  All I can say is, it must be horrible.  DFCS does not just take in children for no reason.  These children are from the hardest of places.  The most deplorable of circumstances, in which intervention had to take place.  The parents of these children, have a mountain of obstacles to overcome, to get their children back.  When the system works...when the parents grab the help given and overcome addiction, learn to parent and maintain a stable environment, it is a happy and wonderful thing to see.  But...  Foster care is messy and when a parent can not or does not want to change or receive the help offered...a case finely comes to is a sad thing.  Sad for the children to never be with the parents God placed them with.  I feel sad for the biological parents.  I think of my children that we have adopted.  I think of their parents often.  I know they made poor choices.  I know most of them were terribly addicted to something that had a grip they could not over come.  I think of them and pray for them.  For salvation.  I think of them on my children's birthdays, mothers day, fathers day, and all the holidays.  I had met most of the biological parents of my adopted children and once in a while I will see their parents in my children...a laugh...a glance, a smile. 

I struggled with who I was when we retired in 2006.  We had been foster parents for almost a decade and I had not lead a very "normal" life in a long time.  By 2010 I seriously could not shake the desire to have more children.  I have always struggled with what my husband calls "babyitis".  Off and on over the years I would have these very strong maternal emotions kick in.  Usually, if I would pray and suppress them for a while, they would diminish and go away for a season.  I began to pray fervently about adoption again.  By 2012 I was asking Tim to please join me in prayer about it.  To ask God if we were supposed to just care for the children we adopted and had most of those children will spend the rest of their lives in our care.  Or were we supposed to forgo the retirement type years, adopt, and raise another child or children.  Tim is very analytical.  He is a guy so was looking at budget, housing space, longevity of our lives.  I am a jump in kind of girl and we will figure it all out as we go along.  I trust God.  I have went thru many hard things in my life, to have this complete trust in Him.  He has proved Himself time and time again to be faithful.  So I believe with all my heart if God calls us to raise a child, He will not only provide but have a plan for that child's life.  What we decided was to do foster care again.  We prayed that God would bring to us the children that would fit well into our home and that He wanted to be with us.  If any of these children had termination of parental rights happen, while in our care...we would know we were to adopt them.

"B" and his brother "T" have been in our home since February.  Sadly, their case has come to that point.  The point that the state has no other choice but to terminate the rights of their parents.  At some point I plan to write a post sharing "in very general terms" their whole story from beginning to end.  So people going into foster care can see how some cases progress and what happens at times.  For now, I can not do that.  I can not even share their sweet faces in an open forum.  But I can say, that court for them was last week and the judge ruled for DFCS to start the paper work for termination.  From what I understand, that will take a month to do and then it will be passed to the DFCS lawyer and will take about another three months to be processed, filed and to get an adoption date.  Truly, I have learned it will all happen when it happens and not to count on any certain time frame.  I have also learned anything can happen and sometimes does, so to hang on loosely and trust God in His plan for us all.  Adoption is not adoption until the day we sign papers.  

We as a family, of course have such mixed emotions.  At this point it would be hard to imagine life without them here in our home.  We LOVE these two little boys.  They are very bonded to and love us.  They call Tim and I, mom and dad and even though they have had some very intense behaviors, they have come so far and try to please us.  Even when my heart does not want to root for the parent to get them these cases...I pray for them and do.  I pray for them to succeed, even though I know it would cause me pain if they go, because I am a parent and fall short at times.  I would never want anyone praying for me to fail at this very important job of raising children.  How could I hope their biological mom fails.  Sadly and with huge repercussions she has.  Repercussions that will forever change all of our lives.  She had chance after chance.  She had complete support and help, in every possible area offered to to her, from as many  sources that could be found to help her...for free... But time is now up, with not one thing on her case plan ever even started.  Not one.  She is still addicted to drugs and will not except the helping hand offered her.  We recently found out she is also with child again.  What mixed emotions I have.  I could just cry for joy that the boys will have stability and a life with us.  We love them.  I also feel like crying for the deep sorrow in my heart for their mom.  A family is about to die.  Their family.  These last few visits they will all have together.  They will not see her again till 18 and then only if they wish to see her.

The boys came back from a visit.  I was getting "B" ready for supper.  I put him in his high chair and I  noticed he had his tiny hand clenched tight.  I unfolded his little hand and in it was a tiny little candy heart.  One of those made from pressed sugar.  He must have had it in his hand just like that over an hour.  It was melting apart and sticky from his moist little hand.   He didn't want to let it go so I could put a spoon in his hand to eat.  These were my thoughts...Did mom just give them candy and he was saving this one?  Did she press this little heart in his hand and tell him to remember she loved him?  Just tears and tears as I washed it from his hand.  Foster care and adoption is so very sad at times...

Revelation 21:4  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.


  1. Oh Susan, I feel your pain. I completely understand praying for the parents. Without them, God's children, our children, would not exist. We have loved children to adulthood and have them return to their birth families without even looking back. That bond is so strong. And I do not fault them, I love them and miss them. We quit foster care for the same reasons you mentioned. Back then foster parents weren't encouraged to adopt. So we chose to quit fostering and adopt instead. It was a harder road, but like you say if it is God's Will we can't worry how it will end. He already knows.
    (((((((((BIG HUGS)))))))))) to all. Praying for peace and comfort for all as this bittersweet process goes through. I would never tell (judge) any mother that she did not love her children, no matter how unable she was to parent. I don't believe it's true. My mother in law once told me that I did not love 2 of my birth children. (the 2 Tom and I had then, we since had Isaiah) They weren't concerned about my birth daughter Angel. She said because we had adopted I neglected those two. It taught me a huge lesson. That gave me compassion for all birth mothers. I am incredibly sad for birthmoms who lose their children for whatever circumstance.

  2. I knew you would understand what I am feeling. It is hard and just plain sad. The children are beautiful and wonderful and I love them but still feel so badly for their mother. To miss out on so much of the rest of their lives. She is not safe for us to continue any kind of contact with in the future. So I am just really sad. God is so good and I trust he knows the best for all of our lives and futures. Much love to you all and many blessings.

  3. Bless you two. I haven't walked the road you two have with adoption or foster care but reading about your empathy towards the birth mother and the children with the bond they still must have with her is moving. May you always have that empathy and good heart towards others. : )

    1. Thank you for your support and encouragement. It always means so much. Many Blessings!