Monday, April 17, 2017

My Journey Into Foster Care

Foster care tugged on my heart when I was at university. Realistically, I knew I could not foster at that time. I had three roommates and almost no income; I would have been rejected as a foster parent if I had applied. After I graduated, the thought entered my mind again. For a while I lived with my parents, so again foster care was not a viable option. But then I moved into a house with two spare bedrooms. My work schedule was predictable and much more reasonable. I met the income requirements for a foster parent. I was old enough. I had the room in my home. I was a young single woman with the time and energy.

Last January, I interviewed with a couple of agencies and then dropped out of the foster care scene entirely for a few months. I didn't feel like I fit with the three agencies I considered. They wanted me to commit to 3-9 months of keeping a child; however, I travel for work and was more comfortable with short term, emergency placement, and respite. The three interviews left me discouraged and doubtful about what exactly the Lord wanted me to do. I focused instead on preparing to lead a group of twenty people to Kenya in July.

In the summer, the trip came and went, and the yearning filled my heart again. God's soft, persistent voice. Love my children, Emily. Cherish my little ones. Open your heart. 

I did more research and I found an agency in my city that fit me. It was Christian-based; the training was paralleled from the story of Esther in the Bible. They held higher expectations of foster parents, but more resources and 24/7 support. I was actually two years younger than this agency's requirement of foster parents, but they considered me and my lifestyle and accepted me regardless.

It took six months of training and paperwork and background checks and home studies, but at the end if it all, I was licensed to be a mom, to whatever degree that entailed.

I haven't agreed to keep a child for an extended duration of time... and I may not agree to do so for a while yet. But my spare room and my heart are open, so children have come (sometimes carried, sometimes in a full sprint) through these doors. I'm willing to let the Lord use my home, use my time, and use my energy in a way that he sees fit.

I was licensed in February, 2017. In these last two months, five children have come through my home. Five names, five faces, and five stories. Five little ones sitting in my lap. Five voices that deserve to be heard.

I am so new and fresh into this foster care journey. Five children is not yet many and my time with them has been short. My life is not radically different, but my lifestyle is flexible for these children and my heart is open to whoever will be coming through my home. I believe this is exactly where I was called to be.

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