Monday, November 15, 2010

Latest Adventure

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.


Chad said...

I totally agree. I cant express fully how much time, energy and spiritual eyes it takes to foster, being a child who has seen it from a sibling's perspective. By that I mean, foster kids in our family growing up.
I cant stress enough how important it is to not sacrifice your own family's safety/peace for the sake of fostering. It can really upset the whole world of those who are not called into it.
That being said, i think if the church stopped navel gazing and trying to be OF the church rather than in it, having children sit still and be silent or be ostracized is just a stupid cultural north american thing. The church is for those called/ set apart.
I hope that people would help you , not to keep them from making noise, but because that is the thing Jesus would do, to minister love to the orphans and widows. My family has seen the most intense trials imgaineable in the last couple of years. I often found churchy people to completely avoid allowing for suffering and process in that. I also found certain safety in pockets of the church where we could just be undone without answers. That is Christs presence to me. Rest well as you recoup and process the journey God had you on. It sounds like you are in the midst of it still!

3 Cowgirls & Our Cowboy said...

I loved reading this posting. I have often thought growing up that I wanted to foster to save one child from a terrible life. But hearing the truth of trials has made me think is that something that I really want to take on?? I have 2 young children myself and i knew for a fact that if I did foster they would have to be older for their safety first and foremost. But then I am not sure even then that i would be strong enough. It is a great thing you did even if for a short period those boys will be forever changed and it could effect the way they end up. Being infulenced by a positive role model. Thanks for your post.

The Thief/Rev. Run said...

@Chad - don't get me wrong; (as I understand) there were only a few in the church who complained, and a whole lot of people committed to tons of prayer for us and for the boys.

@Kristin - I think we can be a lot stronger than we realize, but you're right; your kids' safety is of top concern.

Jenn said...

Thank you for commenting on my blog.

I just have to say this post touched my heart in a big way. I was definitely directed here on this day by God!

I believe God desires for me to either be a foster parent or adopt. This has been on my heart heavily for 3 or 4 months. It seems I have been reading, hearing and seeing so much more about it since it was first laid on my heart.

Right now, though, my husband is not on board with this. We have 4 children, one very young. So, with that being said, I am waiting on the Lord and praying that He will lead us together to what He desires for us as a family.

Thomas said...

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Rev.Dulce said...

I am so proud of the foster work that you and your wife have done. It does take a special kind of family to be great foster parents. There are a lot of children that are praying to be sent to a home like yours. God will bless your work.

muddleglum said...

Maybe your State is different, but in ours, after one year of fostering, we had to re-sign the contract for another year. This time when we read it we realized what we were agreeing that:
1. We were responsible to bring up all the children perfectly--any problems were our responsibility, not the agency's.
2. We were not allowed to touch the child unless he was injuring another. Even then we had a time limit of twenty minutes after which we had to release the child. We live in the country. More than twenty minutes away from the agency.

We knew by that time from experience that we could not follow their rules. The children were told that we were not allowed to touch them, and some chose to refuse all our rules, but we were the ones in trouble if something went wrong or if we told the agency to take them back.

We knew that the other parents did not follow the contract, and understand their reasons. But we have to do what we commit to do.

We also realize that the agency would "work" with us. But that is a fool's paradise--they would not work with us if there was trouble--they hadn't the resources, for one. The lawyer was retained by the agency to protect the agency, for another.

We didn't sign.

Our church was very supportive, the agency was not.