Just wanted to update in regards to us getting placed with more children. 🙂
We received a few calls (to place children in our home) when we first became foster parents. Those resulted in Big Boy and his sister, Baby, coming to live here. Apart from them, we pursued all the children in our home. TD, Little Brother and Little Sister were unusual (God) situations in which we were able to ASK for them to come here…which, by the way, is a whole other blog entry sometime – the significance I believe it will be for Little Brother and Little Sister to know we ASKED for them to come here.
Anyways, all that said, we finally discovered why it is we don’t receive a lot of placement calls at our house to bring children in! We just discovered that our agency mostly tailors to older children who are experiencing more severe mental, social and emotional reactions to all they have gone through. That was never shared up front – probably because they do occasionally bring in younger children too.
Hand in hand with that, there are rules regarding how your house can be set up if you are a foster parent. For instance, children older than five cannot share a room with the opposite sex (which I think is a great rule).
In other words, if we got a phone call for an older child that is going through serious issues, it would mean they would share a room with one of our younger children – if they are the same-sex – because Little Brother is about to turn five.
Now….there is a lot of controversy out there about the parents who say “I am worried what a foster child can do to my children.”
There are valid points on both sides. I usually only hear people advocate for their side of the matter, but I truly see through both sets of glasses having been a foster parent for a little over a year – and even having Big Boy and Little Brother at the same time…
It is valid to feel protective of our children – especially our younger children who can’t always communicate and/or stand up for themself is something were to happen. They are precious to us and it is a big deal to trust a child (whatever age) that you don’t know to share a bedroom with your child. Even to live together and not share a room can be tricky.
There is also a point of concern for precious foster children who are experiencing great trauma and are sent to group homes because no one will take them in.
One thing I have learned is that it is easy to form an opinion when it does not directly affect you. Or – when a person has a “dream” view of how they can help save a child from all they have gone through.
I know that at this time, we would not be comfortable bringing in an older child – for several reasons.
1. Little Brother and Little Sister have come through the foster care system and have been moved a lot – especially Little Brother. He is aware of the fact we are adopting him and that it means we are his forever home. HOWEVER, he is a little boy. I am not sure how he would do if he were to have a peer (or a child around his age) come and then go. I think it would shake him internally a little. Through his eyes: “If he/she has to leave, do I have to leave too?” He might not be ready for that. We have tried to communicate with him the difference between foster care and adoption…ALL children are important and loved in our home, but adoption means you never have to leave… I constantly think of his emotional protection.
2. Being a foster parent is very hard. Apart from regular parental struggles, there is deeper struggle to parenting hurting children… It can take you to the absolute skyscrapers of joy and also plummet you to the center of the earth – well, at least that is how it can be for me. I have come to realize the importance of setting family limits for what we can “handle” – apart from God interrupting our human plans. I don’t think, at this time, we are ready for older children or children with serious psychic hurdles our agency wishes to place. We might be ready for that someday, but we are not ready for that now. It’s a whole “nother level” of foster parenting…
3. We would like to attempt to keep somewhat of a birth order in place in our home. Even as I say that, I laugh internally at how God can do anything He wants and probably will do just the opposite to increase my faith and obedience somehow. LOL.
4. OK – now for the selfish reason. I want to have a baby next. I want to hold a little baby in my arms and have his/her hand wrap around my finger. I want to wake up in the middle of the night for feedings and changings (well, that might be a bit far! ha ha)… I want to experience a baby in our home. Unlike before, I have prayed that God might bring us a baby we could adopt. I would love to have one of those miracle moments of God granting us a baby to have from birth. What a wonderful gift that would be. I often feel sad I didn’t know Little Brother and Little Sister from birth…I feel I missed out on so much. I would like the next time around to not miss so much time… If I could just experience it once, it might be enough (I tell myself).
So…..you might ask what are we doing to do? Our agency focuses on older children and we aren’t ready to take older children in at this time….
This is how you could pray with us… There is an option available to foster parents, but most agencies will not do it. It is called “Borrowed Bed”. For instance, there is an agency (The Children’s Center) about 10 minutes from our home (that I have only known of since Little Brother came to our home) that gets tons and tons of placements for babies – even foster-to-adopt babies (which means a higher likelihood to adopt). If our agency would team up with that agency and allow us to take placements from both agencies, we would very likely get a placement WITHIN A WEEK (after the borrowed bed process was completed) from The Children’s Center.
However, most agencies won’t do it. Why? Because of MONEY. If The Children’s Center called us to receive a baby in our home, the money from the state would not be filtered through my agency. I would have a case worker from The Children’s Center and their agency would receive the state funds.
I called our Licensing worker and as we discussed the “Borrowed Bed” option and I could hear with her responses that they likely would not be interested in pursuing this option. I asked her, “So, if you allowed us to do a borrowed bed, it would essentially be as a favor to us, right?” “Yes, that is what it would be.”
I am not one to try to pave my own destiny – or the destiny for our family. Naturally, my eyes light up to think we could go the borrowed bed route in order to receive a baby in our home. However, we ultimately want God’s perfect will. Even as I typed this paragraph, the placement manager from my agency called me and told me that the placements they are receiving are mostly 16 and 17 year olds, “but when the younger children come, they come in large amounts. You are in mind to call when we get those openings.” I say all that to say, we know our times are in God’s hands. If He wants it to be “borrowed bed” then He will move on the hearts of our agency’s staff to “do us a favor”. If He wants us to receive another child through our current agency, then we believe He holds the perfect timing.
We really like our agency a lot. They are very helpful to us and have wonderful communication and services available to us. We have tossed the idea around of transferring out of our agency, but don’t feel we should make any quick decisions. They have been so good to us. They might be a good “entrance” into foster parenting that we someday transfer out of – and on the other hand – they might be the agency we forever work with… We aren’t rushing to any decisions at this time.
Please keep us in prayer. Please pray for the staff involved with these placements in correlation with our family. We finally feel ready to proceed with another child (yay) and am looking forward to the next miracle from God!