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October 22, 2018
...truly I tell you, whosoever welcomes a child such as this, welcomes ME. ~Jesus~ (Matthew 25:35-36 & 40)
For those who follow our family, you will know that fostering children in the State’s care is something very important to us. While we can’t share details about the children or their situations, we can share more about the process, why we do it, and what we love about it!
If you are unfamiliar, “fostering” or “foster care” is when you are licensed through DCYF (Department of Children, Youth and Families) to provide short or long term care to children in the State’s care. These children have been removed from their parents or guardians for various reasons and range from newborns to 18 year olds. You can provide “respite” care which is when you watch children for another foster family so they can have a break (example: they may have an out of state commitment and not be able to take the foster children, so you will provide care for them during that time period), emergency care which sometimes is a phone call in the middle of the night for a child with nowhere to go, short term care which is a few days or months, or long term care up until the child ages out of the system at 18 years old.
“Aging out of the system” means that the child is now legally considered an adult and therefore no longer eligible as a foster child. Some families allow these children to continue living with them, while other families decide that the child will need to move out. When a child leaves the family, it can be a very traumatic experience – no matter the reason or duration of time they spent with that family. Many children develop unhealthy but necessary coping mechanisms to deal with the pain and loss they experience throughout their time in the foster care system.
Foster care parents are not perfect and as with any group of people, there are those who do it for the right or wrong reasons, who are good or bad people. We aren’t going to focus on the latter in this blog but rather our personal experience.
Why do we foster? Because we believe that every child deserve love and a family! If we have the room and means to provide this to a child, how can we say no? Do we get attached? Is it hard, challenging, draining? Yes, yes, yes! But at the end of the day, knowing we gave an innocent child love they may not have received otherwise outweighs any sadness or difficult moments we experience.
"I am Not afraid to grieve. I am afraid of what will happen to these children if no one took the risk to love them"
Seeing a child relax and feel safe and a part of our family is such a reward and blessing. We truly love all the children we have fostered as if they were biological siblings. We remember their names, stories, birthdays, their time with us – and in some cases we are able to continue a relationship with them! In one case, our short term placement turned into a long term placement and then evolved into adoption! Adoption is permanent, legal placement of the child with a family. Our youngest sister Meysha has lived with us since she was only a year old and just last year was officially adopted into our family! The only thing different between foster care and adoption for us is that Meysha has the security to know that she will always be with us! We love her just as much as before.
"Every Christ-follower has a role in solving the foster care epidemic"
There are hundreds of thousands of children looking for foster families and adoption! Please consider speaking to your local DCYF agency about what you can do to help. If you aren’t able to foster or adopt, there are many other ways you can help! These include making donations of items children will need (many children are removed with only the clothes on their backs), supporting or joining organizations which provide mentoring or tutoring, or looking into fundraisers and other activities which support one aspect of foster care. Do you know a family that fosters? Bring them a care basket! It can include pre-made meals, basic necessities for the child, a “coupon” for babysitting should they need a break, or other items, just like you would bring a family bringing a new baby home! Every thought, action, and donation does make a donation in the lives of these innocent children and those who support them!
"because a child can never have too many people to love them"
FUN FACT: Meysha loves cows and someday is hoping to have her own company. Meysha's Manure will deliver quality poop to fertilize gardens. In the meantime, she helps Rachyl's Goat Milk Soap, LLC by making the lip balm and selling at farmer's market. She always has a goal of selling 10 at each market. Can you just imagine what God has planned for her in the next 9 years when she's Rachyl's age.
To celebrate National Foster Care Month, every online purchase will recieve a FREE lipbalm.
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