We’ve gotten so close to new long-term placements of foster kids in our home. But as the saying goes, close only counts in horse shoes.
Today was particularly nerve wracking. My husband called me at work.
“Are you sitting down?” he asked me. Then he launched into the details of a 14-year-old girl who needed an emergency placement.
He shared the details of the abuse and her homelessness. The social worker wanted to have New Girl in a home within 2-3 hours.
“Um, we have have two boys – Excited and Helper – arriving for the weekend in just a few hours.” I said.
“Yeah, New Girl could bunk with Sassy this weekend and then when the boys go home, New Girl could move into they’re using,” hubby said.
“Four teenagers and an eight year old??” Gulp.
Our permanent kids were onboard. I said yes., too. Hubby said he’d call me back. He also told me to hurry and wrap up things at work and come home.
Sassy was going full bore to clean her room to make it presentable for a roommate. Silent One went up into the attic to bring down the spare box spring. Hubby called friends to ask if we could borrow a twin-sized mattress again.
A bit later, hubby called me back. New Girl was being assigned to a social worker that we have decided not to work with. So, the placement worker and hubby agreed that New Girl would live with another foster family.
Waiting is really hard.
Have you ever read one of those stories about the toddler who was critically dehydrated after being left alone in a crib for days, crying while her mother got high? Or the one about the eight year old boy who was hospitalized after being beaten by his father with a baseball bat? Did you think to yourself “somebody should do something about that?”
Did you find yourself outraged after reading a story about a child being taken from their family on trumped up charges? Did you wonder why someone doesn’t help grown ups deal with addiction or mental illness so that their children could live safely with them?
What about that story about how the foster care system is filled with cold, uncaring social workers who lose track of where children are placed? Or about the greedy foster parents who spend the foster stipend money on themselves while feeding the kids just once a day? Did you think to yourself “somebody should do something about that?”
I read these stories. I was outraged. I thought somebody should do something. Then, I realized that I am somebody. I became a foster parent. A good one (or least to the best of my ability). I love the children, care for them, advocate for them at their schools or therapist’s office or in the courts. I advocate for their biological parents, too, helping them get their voices heard, their needs met, and have a real chance at getting their children back. I volunteer to help out the foster care agency and help train new foster parents.
You could do this, too. All you have to do is Be Somebody.
If you want child abuse to end. If you want families going through hard times to be given a fair chance. If you want the “system” to work as well as it can.
All you have to do is Be Somebody, the somebody who steps forward to be a foster parent.
This post is part of the Adoption Talk Link Up on the topic of foster care / adoption memes. Check out the link for other great voices on foster care and adoption!