Thursday, May 14, 2015

Why YOU?

I just got back from a meeting and in that meeting there was discussion about the changes in the law in Minnesota regarding Child Protection.  These changes are causing the numbers of children coming into foster care to grow quickly.

Years ago I would have blogged about 591 of my opinions about these change, but because of many reasons I will keep them to myself.  However, I do want to address the fact that children have been removed from their birth families and there are not enough foster homes to go around.  This means that sometimes there are kids sleeping in sleeping bags on office floors.  There are kids way too young for this kind of experience being placed in group homes or other kinds of institutions until a foster home becomes available.   Foster homes are full in many counties and there is no place to put the children.  We need to do something.   There is a reason why there is a lack of foster families out there -- recruiting people to do something this selfless and hard isn't easy.  But I am determined to do just that --  because this isn't just a professional thing, it is very personal.

My life has been impacted greatly by foster parents -- the foster parents who, for a time, took care of the children who are now legally mine.  We hear many horror stories about bad foster homes in our society -- and I have children who reported less than ideal situations while they were in foster care-- but I also have kids that had great foster parents.  The children who will one day become adopted children are being impacted this moment day because of a lack of good foster parents. 

I'm excited that Bethany is offering this program and I believe that we will be able to do a great job of preparing, training and licensing families.  I talked about that in this post.  But most importantly, I am passionate about kids having a good experience in foster care across the country, whether or not families use Bethany to license them.

So, I'm asking you, if you're between the ages of 21 and 80 to ask yourself (and God if that is something you do) if you should be a foster parent.   You may be asking, "ME?? Why Me??"

Here's my answer.
  • You would understand what you were getting yourself into and would do it anyway.  You would do the research, pay attention in training, and have a clear idea of how difficult the task is.  But you also know that just because something is hard doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, and you would head into it with eyes wide open.
  • You would put your needs behind the needs of the kids and love them.  You would let them attach to you because you knew it was good for them even if you knew you would hurt when they had to leave.
  •  You would understand the value of birth family connection and work hard to make sure that these people that the kids love, imperfect as they might be, are their people.
  • You would treat them just like your other kids.  You would let them be in sports and celebrate their birthdays and bring them with you on family vacation because you would understand that even if it was only for a few days, weeks or months, that they were a part of your family.
  • You would make a commitment to them that would last a lifetime, even if they were only in your home for a while.  You would make sure they knew that they were welcome to contact you and that they always had a home away from home, wherever they would go.
  • You would arm yourself with a circle of supportive friends who could help you so that you had everything you needed to practice self-care and remain resilient for the children.
  • You would understand that it might be impossible to fix the children, but that you could change your response to them and thus help them in their journey.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea.   You may have a long list of reasons why you couldn't, shouldn't, wouldn't be a foster parent.  One of those reasons might be all of the things you have heard about bad foster parents.  But you should do it because you wouldn't be like that.

Another reason that you may have being saying you can't do it, is that you have concerns about working directly with your county.  But now that excuse is gone and I can assure you that working with Bethany you would have the support you hope for in being a foster family.

Scared kids, being removed from their birth families, need a place to go.   Your home could be that place.  

Meetings are being held where I personally can tell you more.  Come.  

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