Fostering is hard, very hard. But, I’m glad that we’ve made the choice to go through with it. I didn’t really know what foster care was when I was growing up. I knew we had neighbors down the road who fostered teenagers. They would ride the same bus as me. Rumor had it that they only fostered for the money (if you are a foster parent you’re laughing right now because you know). I think it was probably one of their placements that said that. In my young, immature mind, it seemed like most of their placements were “bad” kids. The funny thing (or rather the sad thing) is, I was probably worse than any of them, I was just with my own family.
I wanted to adopt from a young age. I was raised in a very conservative area and in a borderline fundamentalist church. I heard over and over again about the evils of abortion, and although it was never talked about in these terms, at some point decided I need to provide a safe place for someone to carry their baby to term. I wanted to adopt.
Fast forward to a few years ago. My wife and I had been married for three years and had just arrived in Georgia. It was time to grow our family we had talked about adoption but we wanted to have our own first. Anna knew a young lady in her youth group who had said to her parents over and over again that they only adopted her because they thought that they couldn’t have kids. We’d have our own then adopt so that our adopted children would know we chose to because that was our heart.
After a few years of trying and no kids, we decided we better also start working on adoption. The more we looked into adoption agencies the less hopeful we were. It was so expensive, more than we could afford on our low salaries. International adoption seemed to be even more expensive and could take years. Anna stumbled across the Methodist Children’s Home. They were local and were having an informational meeting soon but frankly, neither of us had much desire to foster.
We arrived for the meeting, not knowing anyone and scared at the thoughts of what might come should we step into such a roll. I finally realized how nervous my wife was about the whole thing when she asked me to introduce us, as the extrovert that was traditionally her role in such a circumstance. As we sat in the meeting, hearing about how there weren’t enough foster families to place all the foster children in Georgia in foster homes something was moving within us independently and would force us to make one of the most life-changing choices we would ever make.
My mind was made up after that meeting. I wanted to foster, there was so much need for it in Georgia and I couldn’t walk away now. The more I talked to people the more I realized why there weren’t enough foster parents. Some of our friends and family were more concerned with what might possibly happen to us if we fostered than they were concerned about the children who needed to be loved. “It can be really hard,” they would say. “What if you get too attached to them?” The possibilities were real and in fact, would all be real in our lives, but that didn’t change the fact that someone needed to do something to help those who were hurting right now!
After careful consideration, prayer, and many, many conversations we chose to become foster parents. It would be months of paperwork, training, and house inspections before we got our first call for a placement. Four times we said yes to placements and something would come up, be it family members stepping up to take the children or the Department of Family and Children’s Services would find a foster family closer to the child’s home.
Now let me say that not once have I regretted being a foster parent, but nothing could have ever prepared me for what would happen the night our first placement came to stay with us, but that is a story for another post.
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