Hey friends… so tonight I’ve been asked to share the importance of foster care with the Norfolk City Council. Such an awesome opportunity. Below is the quick speech I wrote for tonight. My prayer is that it not only conveys our heart for foster care… but stirs the heart of the council and you who are reading. Here it goes!
As foster parents we get asked all the time if what we’re doing is hard. And the answer to that is a resounding yes. But not in ways we typically think. The focus of that question is all about us, the foster parent, and it shouldn’t be.
Yes its hard…
1. On the kids. By no fault of their own, they are being taken away from everything they’ve ever known. Their parents. Their homes. Their toys. And sometimes even their own siblings. They are placed in the hands of complete strangers and asked to try their best to adjust to this new setting for an undisclosed amount of time. THAT IS HARD.
2. On the Parents. Sometimes we tend to view the bio parents as incapable monsters who are harming their children. And without a doubt… some may be. But not all. Not even most. They’re people who through their own brokenness have neglected to truly care for the needs of their children. They aren’t bad people… they’re broken people. And having their children removed from them has to be a demoralizing moment. Where truth and reality collide. THAT IS HARD.
3. On the Case Workers. Let’s be honest… nobody wants to be the one who has to go in and separate a child from their mother. Yet they meet this challenge head on because they know that it is best for both parties involved. And with the case load they all manage, they’re seeing the best and worst in these people on a daily basis. THAT IS HARD.
You see foster care is hard because we are dealing with broken people. And its easy to lose the humanity of foster care in the bureaucracy of foster care. But we cant. We must see the people. We must see both the brokenness and the beauty of what is taking place.
I say brokenness and beauty because while people are down and out… there are others who are willing to step in and lend a hand. To help while they rehabilitate. To care for the kids while the parents are restored. And to smile and wave with tears in their eyes as the child is reunified with their parents.
Foster care is hard.
And to go back to the original question that is asked to us all the time… Yes… foster care is hard for the foster family. You see it was brokenness that brought these kids to us, but it was love and hope waiting for them at the door. We say all the time it is our job to love them like they’re our own… but give them back because they’re not! And thats hard!
And yes… We are aware that one of the hardest things we will ever have to do in this life is grieve the loss of a person who is still alive. Yet we are still committed to loving these kids with all of our hearts today… and trusting God with their tomorrow.
Foster care is hard. But we believe in foster care because we believe in the restoration of the broken.