It has been almost a month since we were approved to be foster parents.
There are 408,000 children are in foster care in the US and 107,000 of those are eligible for adoption, per the FosterCare Statistics 2010 Fact Sheet.
We have gotten three calls with placement offers and one call for respite care. We said no to all three placement calls. The first was a toddler who only needed a temporary placement. The other two were teenage girls. The first was a 17 y/o girl who “just needed someone to help get her through senior year.” She turns 18 in February. The second was a 16 year old girl who had just come into custody and desperately wanted to stay at the high school near our home. I was the one to have the conversations and ultimately say no.
We watched two brothers, ages 10 and 11, Saturday night as respite care for another foster family. They were with us for four hours and we had a lot of fun. They walked right in and made themselves at home, asking a TON of questions. They were excited to meet our dogs and give them treats.
We introduced the boys to root beer floats and Legos. They were enamored with the chalk board on the wall in Scott’s office. “You can draw ON the wall?!?” They asked all about our family, how we met, and why we didn’t have any other kids. They were shocked that they were our first foster kids. They said that they had never been anyone’s first foster kids. They were extremely polite. They said yes ma’am and yes sir. They even put their dishes in the sink. For being 10 and 11 they knew a lot about the foster system. They insisted that we do a lot of thing other adults just don’t do – I guess we do play with Legos. . . By the end of the evening they both asked to stay with us. We told them that not every day at our house was as much fun as that night. We also do laundry, clean the litter box, and do homework. They swore that they LOVE to fold laundry.
They did really well until it was time to be picked up by their foster family. They started arguing and fighting with each other as soon as their foster-mom called and said that she was on her way. It was interesting to see how reluctant they were to make the transition. Of course it was way past a reasonable bed time for 10 and 11 year olds, but we could read them like an open book. They were tired and had a lot of hurt behind their eyes. We don’t even know what that may be.
I am struggling with the emotional impact of saying no to children I don’t know and then also to these boys that we had in our home. It’s kind of heart wrenching to say no when the child asks you directly. We have said that we want to adopt rather than pursue fertility treatments so we can put our resources toward helping kids who are already here. We prayerfully and thoughtfully created a profile that says ages 0-5 years. But it breaks my heart to say no to children who need a home. It will be much harder for the agency to find homes for these boys than a child under 5 years old. My rational side says remember the profile; stick to the profile you created when you were not emotional. But I feel like that may just be the excuse of a scared person. What if we say no to someone just because they don’t fit the picture of what we think our family looks like? What if it is just my fear or selfishness or doubts that keeps us from being parents to someone who needs us? Sometimes I don’t think I am mature enough for this.
Lots of thoughts…I’ll just keep waiting.