Thank-you for baby J. Keep him safe when he goes to his new family.
Keep us safe so we can be ready for the next foster kid that we can look after.
That was my 5 year old son’s prayer last night. Unassisted, that’s what he chose to pray for. Baby J has been with us for nearly 2 months. He is beautiful. Easy to love. Not sure of where and when he will leave us only God knows that.
Having baby J with us has lead to many conversations about fostering with friends and strangers. Many have wondered how I could have a 2 month old and a 13 month old….I’m not sure if they think I am more or less crazy when I tell them that they are not both biologically mine 🙂
I have been wondering lately what makes someone go from “I’m interested in fostering” to “I am going to do this now”.
We often hear someone say “when our kids are older then we will….” And that is great….it really is. I am thankful that there are many people who have it on their heart to take care of a child in need, I just hop that it happens. I can’t help but wonder if today’s reasons for not being able to take in another child will adapt and change as time goes on. Life is busy in seasons…the childrearing season is probably one of the busiest with nappies to change, sleepless nights, meals to cook, playdates to organise, soccer teams to coach, homework to help with, music lessons to drive too, boyfriends to question, girlfriends to scare off 🙂 The list is endless right!
I can’t speak for you, and by no means do I think that because I am a foster mum I am better then any other mum out there. I have times when I am over run, when I wonder if my ‘womb babies’ miss out because of one of the ‘stork babies’ that has been delivered to my door. When I wonder if I am giving enough care, or the right care to any of the kids, let alone the baby who has been neglected or abused or traumatised.
What I can speak to is the reason for why we have chosen to say yes to the inconvenient journey that being a foster parent can put you on.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
I am not a Bible Scholar, nor do I have a great theological knowledge but this verse seems pretty clear to me. “For whatever you do for the least….” In my city, I believe the ‘least’ are the children who have been removed from their families for one reason or other and who are scared, frightened and at great risk of more trauma. This is a mandate to those who follow Christ to love and take care of those who are vulnerable. To “clothe and feed” those who need it. Being a foster parent allows us to literally do this.
Reason 2 –
In June 2011 there were over 37 000 children living in out of home care (foster care) throughout Australia. This number has doubled in 10 years. We have a very broken system in Australia. The sheer numbers tell us that. I believe we are overcompensating for past sins that the white Australian’s have committed (The stolen generation and forced adoptions) and are yet to find a middle ground. Mix that together with generations stuck in a cycle of poverty (poverty here being undereducated, 2nd or 3rd generation known to DCP, drugs, alcohol, DV, homelessness and mental health) it isn’t hard to explain why so many children are being brought into care. Yet, there are reports of carers taking in 5 or more children because there are not enough healthy homes for the most vulnerable in our society to go to. Our opportunity to offer them far more than a safe place to sleep and food to eat might just be the thing that makes all the difference in their lives. We have the ability to show them a picture of what a family looks like and what being loved feels like.
Reason 3 –
It is important to us that our ‘womb babies’ (otherwise known as Adley, Nevaeh and Caden) know that they are apart of a community and a community needs to take care of each other. We have phrases such as ‘we need to show love’ that get thrown around often. Not just about showing love to the ‘stork babies’ but to each other as well. I am careful that each of the children get time alone with mummy, and that can vary from a few minutes to an hour or so depending on the day and the child. When one of my babies is showing signs of fraying around the edges, I declare a date and just me and them head off for a babycino to spend some time out together.
A question I get a lot is ‘how do the kids handle the coming and goings of strange kids?’. As Adley’s prayer above shows….they look forward to it! Another playmate, another baby to cuddle! I love watching each of them with baby J. The other night I heard Nevaeh whispering to him as she ‘looked after him’ on her bed that he was just staying with us for a little while until his mummy was ready to look after him. We don’t go into the gory details with the kids, they don’t need to know all of that. Instead, we ask them to help us ‘Show Love’.
So that’s why we have said yes to the sometime glorious, sometimes utterly deflating journey of fostering. Check out FosterNow for more information and stay tuned to hear how you can become a Foster Friend….someone who might not be able to commit to being a foster family but who can support someone who is.