Just a Foster Child

Never..."just a foster kid"  
One Sunday, I walked up to the check in kiosk at my church with my typical 4, along with a set of sibling brothers that had joined our family.  The 5 year old was listening to me check in everyone, and then I said, "and this is our friend Ben here with us." 

He looked up at the check-in volunteer and added, "I'm just a foster kid."  

My world stopped spinning.  It was a great opportunity to take him over to the side hall, get down to his level, and look him in his precious brown eyes and say, "You are NOT just a foster child.  You are loved, you are special, you are important to us, and you are our friend." 

Sometimes foster kids really hate being a foster kid. You may mistakenly think that since their biological families could not raise them for a season that they are magically grateful for their new place with 3 meals and plenty snacks a day, a loving family, and a safe home for a time, but even if they are ma…

Ode to Foster Daddies!

This Father's Day, I'd like to pay a tribute to all the Daddies that love kids that are not really "theirs" just like they are.  This hard calling might be easier for a mama that's nurturing and typically wired more for compassion and empathy, but foster Daddies are right there in the trenches cleaning up spit up or vomit-filled car seats, and changing plenty of dirty diapers for kids that will never remember their sacrifices.

He gets up with another man's baby in the middle of the night.

When no one shows up for visits, He shows up to play Legos.

He speaks gently and graciously to a single mother whose drug abuse impacted his life greatly.

When no one else is willing to step up for a child, He does.

He puts together a crib suddenly for a teen foster child, and her new baby.

When his wife has no dinner plans due to the chaos that reigns and 400 minutes she spent on the phone with child welfare issues, he scrambles eggs or hits the drive through and moves on.

A String of Strangers

A Stranger

A stranger hurt them.

A stranger took them into foster care when he found them living in a car.

A stranger kept them for 3 nights.

Strange doctors checked on them.

A stranger brought them to me, another stranger, over an hour away.

Another stranger kept them while I worked, then I took them to a school of strangers. Another stranger picked them up for an appointment and brought them home to me for a month and we became no longer strangers, but family. 
Last night, me, a former stranger, cried a lot since I don’t know anyone I trust personally who has an open home to be their next stranger. I can’t do it long term, or I can’t be a stranger to another child who might needs us next and the 5 other former foster kids I’ve committed to already in some way. 
This morning, I met another stranger (a new caseworker) who will take them to back to stranger #3, and then they’ll move to stranger #4. I don’t even know her name when they ask. I wrote a letter. Maybe it will help.

I wish…
If She Didn’t Say Yes, I Couldn’t Say Yes: Ode to Alternative Caregivers
Every foster parent needs someone who unequivocally will step in and pick up where the foster parent runs out of time and energy. Every foster parent needs someone who might not sign the foster care contract, but signs up all the same to come alongside you and get the work of loving a traumatized child done!
My alternative caregiver has stayed up all night at my home and hers with a newborn when there is no maternity leave, so I can work the next day or be coherent to spend time with my other children. When I take kids late at night, she stays with them the next day so I can get to work and they can sleep late and stay home to unwind for a day. She meets social workers when I can’t. She picks up at day care, and she’s taken foster kids to the dentist. She doesn’t ask what the child is like and doesn’t expect him/her to be an angel; She still says yes when I do. She lets us use her pool to teach foster kids to swim…

Guest Blogger: Foster Mama Reflects on the First Hello and Goodbye

In May of 2016, our family made a decision to change our lives forever. We decided to join a system I'd been part of as a baby over 42 years ago. We believed God called us to grow our family one little life at a time through foster care.

We were licensed in September, and then by October we were picking up the 2 week old baby boy we'd been praying for. For 18 1/2 months we helped him grow and learn. For 81 weeks, we watched as he explored this awesome world. For 567 days, we taught him what a safe, stable and loving family/home is like. Now, this baby boy lives with his forever family, a family we love, who will give him a lifetime of chances and opportunities.

Is foster care difficult? ABSOLUTELY! God never said following Him would be easy. It's hard to see his empty bed and it's quiet without his footsteps. But, it's incredible to see how God protected him from harm, used us to care for him for a season, and then provided him a family that will be there …

Guest Blogger: Life Interrupted.

This foster mother shared her reflection on Mother's Day, and I thought I'd share it with you!

"When I left you today I was driving to Ingles and got emotional thinking about the first time I met Jeremy. You texted in a group message that foster parents volunteers were needed to sit with a very sick baby. I actually was supposed to go to a work Christmas party that night. I decided not to go to that party because I needed to be at GHS that night. I’m so thankful I received that text, and the Lord let my heart receive him. Gosh, Jeremy has blessed my family in immeasurable ways. Every single person who meets him is crazy about him, I can’t blame them! He’s precious. I never thought my love for my biological children could ever be equal to a child I didn’t birth! Boy, was I wrong!"

The rest of her story is certainly worth sharing! 

The part of the story she didn't mention is that she still said that yes, to show up at a hospital for that baby, when her first plac…

Guest Foster Parent Blogger: The Child on Your Doorstep

Jessica Edhlund, Mama of 2 and foster mama the past two years to nine children (so far) shares her heart today on the blog!

No one understands the need for more foster parents better than foster parents themselves. Many of us are maxed out and doing more than we ever thought we could. Foster care is a community issue, not an individual one.

Community members who have the great fortune of having a stable home environment and an extra bed or two can consider pitching in. Foster parents are not special people with extraordinary talents or the super human ability to not get too attached. They are regular people who decided that vulnerable children in their community deserve a safe place in a family instead of having to move far away or live in a group home.

Yes, sometimes there is discomfort or emotional pain that is endured by foster parents. Better us capable adults than them.

Imagine this: a child with no where to go and a dangerous living situation shows up on your doorstep needin…