Our (Accidental) Journey Into Foster Care

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I hate crying.

I hate it with a fiery passion deep within my soul. And if there’s one thing I hate more than crying, it’s PUBLIC CRYING. I will hold back my tears like my life depends on it.

So imagine my surprise when I found myself surrounded by complete strangers with ugly hot tears burning my cheeks. I was crying so much, in fact, that the lady teaching the class that I was in brought me tissues so I could wipe my tears off the TABLE in front of me.

Embarrassing. But it happened.

Where was I crying, you ask? A foster care training class.

I lost all composure while watching a five-minute video where kid after kid talked to a camera about their life in foster care.

The part of the video that made me cry uncontrollably was listening to each child state that they didn’t feel wanted by anyone.

Something about that statement broke my heart into a trillion shattered pieces, and knowing that there are children who feel unwanted impacted me more than anything else I learned in the other 27 hours of training.

If you had asked me months prior if I would be sitting in a foster care training class crying my eyes out, my answer would have been a resounding NO! We have three young children, what did we have left to give? We had thought about foster care as a possible far off thing. You know, in 14 years when my four-year-old was packing his bags out the door to college.

You see, we stumbled into the foster care world sort of, well… on accident. 

We originally started warming up to the idea of becoming foster parents because we were going to be an out of state kinship placement. We had family members in Texas who potentially needed a family, and so we stepped forward and went through the foster care process only with kinship in mind.

Long (very long) story short, the children that we originally intended on fostering’s reunification plans seemed to look slightly more promising. After a very time consuming and frustratingly long and confusing process, we ultimately weren’t as needed as the Texas caseworker had originally led us to believe.

During our whole foster care process, I couldn’t shake that video. I couldn’t stop thinking about those precious souls who didn’t feel wanted by anyone.

I texted my husband one day and said, “I feel like we were fighting so hard for the kinship foster kids in Texas that were wanted by everybody. What about the kids here in our own backyard who don’t feel wanted by anyone and who don’t have anyone fighting for them?”

Even though we had an accidental start into foster care, we quickly realized that opening our home to foster kids is a real-life tangible thing that our family can do to help make a huge difference in the lives of children.

Despite our kinship plans falling through, we could no longer sit back in our comfy middle-class home with an extra bed and an extra crib surrounded by blessings. Especially when our eyes had been opened and we now knew that there were real-life children in our own community who needed nothing more than love and a warm home with a safe bed.

And we wanted those kids.

We want those kids to know that they are loved and treasured and wanted whether they are with us for a day, a week, or forever.

If you have thought about becoming a foster parent I encourage you to research it. I know it is not for everyone, but if you feel called to foster – take the first step. Yes, the process can be annoying. I can’t even tell you the number of times I sent our caseworker a copy of my drivers licence. So many times that I joked to my husband that DHS shreds every document I send them. But the process is so not as scary as I thought it would be.

And, most importantly, there are children out there who want to be wanted by you.

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