Their story starts almost four years ago. Like many children who find themselves in foster care, their stories start with a phone call. My husband and I had just received word that we finally had an adoption date for our wild man and diva. From the time the caseworker placed wild man in my arms it would take two and a half years to get our happy ever after adoption day. We received the news on a Friday and over the weekend we talked about all the ups and downs that we had experienced and made the decision to stop being foster parents after their adoption was complete. The system was broken at best and we didn’t feel we could go through the pain of it all again. Seeing kids come in and out of our home was hard, every time a child left part of our heart went with them. If you don’t fall in love with the kids that come in your home you’re not doing it for the right reasons. The pain is real, the loss is real, the love is real. It was a different decision but we had our minds made up.
So when our phone rang the following Wednesday evening I was at a loss for words. My husband was at church and I had stayed home to visit with our oldest daughter who was in from college. I did not recognize the number but answered anyway. The lady on the other end spoke quickly and I caught the words ” baby, boy, temporarily, can you take him?” I asked her to repeat herself and she apologized and said she had a baby boy that needed a home for a few days and she knew we had a free bed. As bad as I hated to I told her no. We had just discussed us not being fosters anymore over the weekend. There was no way my husband would agree no matter how temporary. She thanked me and hung up. Moving on to the next possible home for him I was sure. I started crying immediately after the call, my daughter ran in to see what was going on. I told her what had happened and she told me she was sure they would find a place for him, after all he was a baby and babies are not hard to place. I knew she was right but my heart still ached. After my husband came home I told him what had happened. He could tell I had been crying. He let me explain all that I knew and then in his soothing voice he said ” Call her back we will take him”. By this time it was 1030 so I knew it was to late to call. The next morning I called the number back and had to leave a message. I figured she had already found him a place to stay but I had to check. Thursday came and went with no call back. Friday morning however the phone rang and it was the caseworker. She asked if we were still interested in taking him in and if so she would explain everything after she brought him to us. By Friday afternoon he was in my arms. Not the six or eight month old I expected when she had said baby boy, but a sweet two day old baby boy. He was beautiful with dark eye and dark eyes.
Three weeks later we were getting ready for our family reunion when the phone rang. Again a number I did not recognize but I answered. It was another caseworker. She asked if I was the foster mom to wild man and diva. I told her yes and asked what was going on. My heart was beating fast, I just knew it was something about their upcoming adoption. She must of heard the panic in my voice and told me that nothing was wrong. In fact, she said, we have a surprise for you. Their birth mom had recently had another baby. A boy this time. He had went home with his father but things were not going well and he had to be taken into state custody. The dad was told, among other things, to stay away from the mom but he could not or would not. When it came time to choose between the baby and the mom the dad picked the mom. She was letting me know they would be at our house before 5 that afternoon. I was in shock. All I could get out was that we already had a new placement, a baby, and we could not take another without a waiver. She told me that our waiver had already been approved and we would see them shortly. I called my husband and told him what was going on to which he replied “What’s one more”. When the worker showed up she handed me a small little fellow with big blue eyes. Within three weeks we had went from a family of six to a family of eight.
For the next two years we would go through the countless court hearings, visitations with the birth parents, MDT meetings, doctors appointments, therapy appointments, and Birth to Three visits. We had some type of specialist in our home three to four days a week between the two of them. But after 698 days in foster care for Big Al and 669 days in foster care for Elmo we arrived at our second forever family (adoption) day.
We thought we were finished with foster care but God looked down and said I am not finished with you yet. I look back and think about how different our lives would be if we had decided not to call that worker back. Where would our Big Al be? Would we even have our Elmo? Our lives are pure chaos most days but I would not trade it for the world. These two precious little guys bring us so much joy and laughter it far outweighs the not so great moments. I know foster care is not about adoption. I know that the main goal is reunification. But sometimes, sometimes no matter how many chances are given or how many improvement periods are awarded the parents just can’t seem to get their priorities in order. The judge and lawyers then have to make the call for what’s best for the child. And if your lucky…..not lucky if your blessed to be that foster parent for that child you get the opportunity to adopt the child(ren) that you have protected , nurtured, smiled with, cried with, laughed with and fell in love with. God blesses you for being His hands and feet. He blesses you for doing His work here on earth. Foster care is not for everyone. It’s hard. It’s painful. It’s sacrifice. It’s dealing with lawyers and courts. It’s being the one person who cares for the child daily but has little say in what happens to the child. It makes no sense to many. You will lose friends and family members that just don’t understand why you do what you do. You will be criticized and accused of things you never that possible. Your priorities will change and your carefree life as you knew it will be but a blur. But it’s so worth it all. It’s one of the greatest joys one can do. Giving everything to a child that feels as if they have nothing is worth every tear and every heartache. Without foster care we would not be the family we are today.
Happy second Forever Family Day Anniversary to my boys. Momma loves you more than you will ever know.
There is a major need for good foster homes nationwide. If you have ever thought about it I encourage you to pray about it and look into it. Call your local agencies or your local DHHR or DCS office see what classes need to be taken. Don’t let the “I could never do that I would get to attached” or the “I just don’t think I could love a child and then have to give him or her back” statements fill your head. These children need someone that will fall in love with them and that will become attached to them. They need to know they are worth loving. I promise you it will not only make a positive change in their lives but it will also change yours. Have faith take that leap.