My husband and I became licensed to foster in December 2015 and got our first placement in February 2016. We are licensed for up to 6 kids, ages 6-17. Yes, I know, we are crazy. Our hearts hurt for these "older" kids that have been exposed to neglect, abuse, rape, drugs, addiction and have been the ones to suffer the pain that these tragedies bring. It's not fair. It's truly hard to understand why these things even happen, but I do know that God is good and that He can make good come out of such horrific things.
Too often, people think "I wouldn't want the older kids because they're already set in their ways" or "they're so traumatized already that it'd be too difficult" or "they're beyond help." It makes me sad that so many people think this way, but I think that's why there is such a shortage of foster parents for older kids.
And the truth is..."older kids" is considered anything over 4 years old. In our current foster journey, we've met some AMAZING foster/adoptive parents and families, but very few that are willing to take these older kids.
To understand WHY we are doing it, I think you need to understand my husband's background. PLEASE please take the time to read his testimony HERE. So many people look at us and think, "young, white, privileged couple? You think you know anything about pain and abuse?" And then they hear his story and find themselves with a theoretical foot in their mouths. But hear me on this - you don't have to have a testimony like that to simply care for a hurting child. I have not been through the things that he has, yet God is able to use me and give me a completely different set of gifts/skills. God can use anyone with a willing, sacrificial heart.
You can also read our fostering announcement HERE.
So on February 1, 2016 a sweet little 11 year-old-boy came to live with us. He was with us a short 10 days, but he was a delight to have for that time and we still stay in contact with his family. He comes over to our house occasionally which is so fun! He was a good introduction into foster care though he was so easy. He was polite, gentle and fun!
Then on February 26, 2016, three siblings came to live with us! 10-year-old boy, 11-year-old girl and 16-year-old girl. They are currently still with us and it's been a huge learning process, but such a joy. It's been the hardest thing I've ever done in my life and I constantly question myself, but the Lord reminds me that it's NOT ABOUT ME and that He alone strengthens me.
I took off 2 days from work when they were placed with us and then about 2 weeks later, I was stressed to the max and wasn't sure how I could continue. Seriously - we're young, we've never had kids before and we took in three older kids with pretty high needs. I should have given myself a little more grace! I hear new mamas constantly talking about how hard just one or two kids is and we took THREE! Again, we're crazy. So I decided to take 8 weeks of leave from my job to try and figure things out and get myself down from levels of stress I was experiencing.
Those 8 weeks weren't "relaxing" or a "vacation" like many people asked, but we learned to get into a routine, how chores would work around the house, how to better apply consequences and what makes each of us tick. And I caught up on some lost sleep!
As I find time to write (with a full-time job as a CPA and being a full-time foster parent), I want to share many lessons that I've learned and what God is teaching me along the way. You can follow me via Bloglovin, Twitter, Instagram.
Thanks for following along! Please leave comments! I blog for the conversations it sparks!