I didn't post much about our most recent adventure in foster parenting because I didn't think it would be prudent; first of all, the birth family could read about the boys or see their picture and figure out where they were, and secondly, because it was tough going (and I didn't end up blogging much during those four months partially because of that). It was tough having four boys, age 6 and under, especially with what J&N had suffered through before they came to our house.
I learned a lot about myself, about others, about spiritual warfare, and about the "system" in the process.
About myself... in Brother Lawrence's The Practice of the Presence of God, he expresses surprise not in the fact that humans can be so horrendously evil, but in the fact that we're often not. During the last four months, I came to understand how (often foster) parents can do horrible things. Not that I ever condone doing evil to a child (or anyone else), but I began to understand how someone could. But there were many times when I was stretched way too thin. I was glad to have my "out" - running - where I could get away and reorient myself toward God.
I already knew that there are people who understand "different" kids and people who don't, but I didn't know how much that would show up. There were some people who I frankly didn't know very well who stepped up tremendously to help out with the boys, especially during church. Church was a difficult time, because for a while the nursery was not staffed during the early service, (and since both boys have attachment issues, we felt that it was important to keep them with us)... so the boys were in worship... not a big deal, as we always keep our other two in that service... except that J&N had never experienced church before. Or positive discipline. Or sitting still. And so they screamed through the first few services. Some people just got annoyed and complained.
But there were several others who stepped up and helped. Tremendously. They were awesome.
I learned more about spiritual warfare than I ever thought possible, and I'm still learning. These boys were victims of generational curses - something they never chose for themselves. Their parents, grandparents - who knows how many generations - were filled with the evil they had inherited and they had chosen. When J&N first came into our house, they were saturated with those curses. They were tortured little boys. Happily, and thanks to a lot of prayer, when they left our house, though they still have issues, they were no longer the same tortured little boys.
I was reminded of the system, which doesn't necessarily exist to do the best thing; it sometimes exists to do the cheap thing or the expedient thing. This isn't a slam on the case workers; I've found that the social workers are one of two things: they are either so jaded and cynical that you wonder why they're still in it; or they're idealistic people who want to help... and they're buried alive with too many cases for one person to adequately handle. Unfortunately it ends up that lies, misinformation, and lack of communication are the order of the day.
I understand that God calls His people to care for orphans and widows, but with my experience (and the experience I've watched others go through), it does take a special calling to be a foster parent. It's definitely not for everyone. If God is calling you to do it, then do it with gusto. But if God is not calling you to it (and be sure to discern the difference; don't just say God isn't if you haven't taken time to listen), then find other ways to care for the orphan and widow in your community.