Truth: "The system" is brimming with children waiting to be adopted. Their pictures break.my.heart.
Truth: Many of these kids are in a sibling group---sometimes 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or more siblings, all wanting a forever family without being split apart. And I think, my girls know their biological family members---that is a blessing. Of course these kiddos need to be adopted together. Biology matters.
Truth: Many of these kids are minority children.
Truth: In my hearts-and-roses world, I would adopt many of them. I would fill my house with brown kids.
Truth: I'm scared what these kids could bring into my home, what they could teach or do to my children, and I'm scared of their pasts and of their futures.
Truth: There are over 100,000 kids in the US, domestic orphans, waiting to be adopted. There are hundreds of thousands more in foster care who might become available for adoption.
Truth: Kids in foster care are at a high risk to become teen parents, become incarcerated, or become homeless.
Truth: I've had my kids since a few days after they were born. I have been the one to nurture them, mold them, teach them. Yes, they do, without a doubt, mirror their biological parents in many ways. However, I've been there every step of the way. Could I take in a five year old and mold him or her into the successful, Christian human being I want them to become? Or would it be too late?
For one, I've been told that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for my family to be approved to adopt kids older than our current two.
For another, as we know, kids in foster care are in foster care for a reason, or maybe many reasons. And none of those reasons are pretty. And can I handle that?
Oh yes, and there's this thing in my life called Diabetes. It's pretty much a huge pain in the rear end at all times. Stress raises my blood sugars. Oh yeah, and parenthood is stressful. The more kids, the more stress.
Oh, and adoption, it's a lifelong commitment. There's no turning back. At least, I feel that's not an option for my family. I also feel that fostering is a commitment. If the kids we foster become available for adoption, wouldn't we want to say yes, we'll take them? Forever?
I like my Pottery Barn world a little too much. What I mean is, I have it all, and I know it. What if some of that is gone? Am I willing to accept that? Am I willing to turn my life upside down and inside out for the rest of my life to adopt kids who truly need a forever home? GULP.
Steve and I are in the process of buying a new home. It's big. It's beautiful. And there is the potential for, get this, 6 bedrooms on the top floor. Six. A lot of kids could fit into our new home. The house sits on a large lot. There's plenty of room for kids to run, play, imagine.
But I also know me. I like a good project. I like planning the next step. And I don't want to treat adopting children or fostering children like a project, because it's not. As I approach three months off work (summer, baby!), my heart is stirring. I feel uneasy. I've got to do something.
Every single time I sit in church, I think about foster care. I think about everything we could provide children---a good home, stability, homemade meals, stories, cuddles, play time outside, attention, family, joy, encouragement, an accepting church.
I think about how foster care is a ministry. God calls Christians to care for widows and orphans. What have I really done for either? I could do something.
Every time I get gung-ho about fostering or adopting from foster care, my drive dies down, fading quickly, after just a few short days, or at best, a few weeks. These kids need committed parents.
And the system. Sigh. The system. It's so jacked in our state. Bio parents are catered to while children linger in the system, broken. Not fair, I want to scream.
We have cared for two children in the past for our old adoption agency. One of these children was my oldest daughter's age. We had him for three weeks. A few days into his visit with us, Steve and I were captivated by him. I'm pretty sure he called Steve "Daddy." He was so precious. It was so hard to let him go after just three weeks.
I want to protect my heart. I don't want to share "my kids" with their biological family members whom I know have chosen behaviors that led to their children being taken from them. I already don't want to send my foster kids on visits with their families. I don't want to see the children get buckled into a social workers car and driven away.
I hate the lack of control I will have over these children.
But I just can't stop thinking about saying yes to fostering.
This post has been raw and real. Don't judge me for my honesty and my misconceptions. I new to this fostering thing. I'm talking to foster families, I'm reading books and blogs, and I'm thinking.
And I'm scared.