Thursday, August 14, 2014

Prayers please...

It's been a number of weeks since my last post here - not for a lack of things to say, but more for a lack of time to say them. Now I have a few minutes while the little pickle is asleep and I just finished a 30 minute phone call with my social worker.

They say it's either feast or famine in this process, and I would agree. Since our experience in June with the children from Oregon, we've taken time to process, to pray, and to reevaluate what we believe God is calling us to do. We have also inquired on over 80 other situations from around the country and have been navigating the feedback. More on that in a moment.

But first to share a bit of my heart on the matter - After reading through (literally) hundreds of profiles, it becomes easy to start seeing children as just the words on the paper or the stats on the charts. That is, until I stop and really listen. We are surrounded by brokenness, and none is so devastating to me as what results from the cycles established when parents do not care for their children.

It's easy to make value judgements when I hear of children addicted to drugs from birth, or sexually abused, or who have stopped growing because of the trauma they have endured. I will never adjust to hearing about little ones not yet five years old who had to be hospitalized because they are harming themselves, or about any number of other horrors that precious children have had to endure.

And yet, it isn't as simple as blaming the parents. Yes, parents make choices, and yes they are responsible for those choices and the damage that results to their children. But, these parents so often have the deck stacked against them. Many of them were once foster children themselves. An estimated 28,000 children age out of the foster care system each year leaving them vulnerable to poverty, homelessness, PTSD, and the list goes on and the cycle continues. A simple online search offers all kinds of statistics. It is a vicious cycle, and it needs to be stopped - even though it can feel hopeless at times. At any given time, there are an estimated 400,000 children in foster care of which roughly 100,000 are available for adoption.

Almost every day since we heard the news that another family was chosen, our little A has asked to pray for the Oregon siblings by name. Somehow, my not-yet two-year-old remembers their names and often prays for them on her own. Her simple prayers consists of "Papa, Mama, me, [insert names]. Amen." But, I know God hears her heart. It has been a wonderful opportunity for us to thank God that those children found a forever family and also to teach little A to pray for all the other children who are in need of one. She may not yet fully understand, but her heart is tender towards the need.

And, so, we continue the process, the calling, and we ask for your prayers. We recently submitted on an out-of-state situation from a state in the northeast, and we heard back from the caseworker this week. The children are a legal risk placement, which means that there is a chance an adoption would fall through. Basically, the parental rights have been terminated, but there is an appeal in process. The strength of the appeal is in question, and the caseworker wants to place the children before the appellate decision comes down, so there is a risk. Our motto is to continue until there is a red light, and at this point there is peace in continuing.

We also just received some additional information from another sibling set from another state in the midwest. They are going to committee in early October and want to hear back from all interested parties by the middle of September. We need to review and consider. Yesterday, I received a call from a state out west that was responding to two inquiries I made with additional information. At this point, we don't have peace about those situations, so we are discontinuing our pursuit.

Aside from that, we keep reading profiles and sending inquiries. In the midst of the process there are many little encouragements along the way, and I am grateful for those. I spoke online briefly the other week with a mom who was preliminarily chosen with her husband to bring home a sibling set of nine children! They already have six at home! It's good to know that there are people out there who are willing to open their homes to siblings sets who are very often characterized as special needs placements because they are harder to match.

Foster children are in care through no fault of their own.  They are not abnormal or strange. They are dealing with things that no child should have to face, and they each need families who can love them despite their hurt and past experiences. Yes, it's work, and yes it can be scary, but their lives are worth it.

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