Letters from a Foster Mum - saying 'no'.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Dear Friends
It's probably the hardest thing for a perpetual people pleaser like myself to say, but it seems on this fostering journey that it is the one thing I am getting very good at saying: "No".
The phone has rung many times, the caller asking, seeking any chance they have that we may be able to help.  And helping is what we want to do & why we signed up for this crazy journey, but we've had to say 'no'. 
'No' to the teenagers....
'No' to the boy just a year older than our daughter...
'No' when we are travelling & just arriving home......
But possibly the hardest to say was 'No' to those seeking a permanent placement. 
These permanent placements - they are the ones that make my mama-heart ache.  They are the ones that need someone to be tuck them in at night.  They need a loving family & to experience kindness.  They are the ones we are most earnestly seeking to help.

When we began this journey we spoke openly with some of our closest friends who are experienced foster parents.  The one thing they said was that we had to be strong with what children we would take.  While we have a responsibility as Christians to help the orphans, we also have a responsibility as parents to keep our bio children safe physically, emotionally & spiritually.  As parents there is this precarious balance between protecting your child & keeping them from the situations that will build their character. It seems an endless journey of knowing what to expose them to & when to protect them. 
Little hand prints left on windows
Foster care is a situation which has the potential to expose them to much more than they need to be, yet it is such a worthwhile thing.  That is why we need to have our list of who we are willing to take.  That is also why we know when to break our own rules or not.  So far we've only swayed from them once & that ended up being a fun weekend of respite which resembled one big slumber party (girls & boys room separate, but both oh so full!). However, we are acutely aware that while my heart breaks for the child seeking a permanent placement who is the same age as our twins, we are not the best family for them.
 Studies have shown that the best outcomes are when the foster child is at least two years younger than the youngest bio child.  This makes sense to us the more we traverse down this road. We have our list of requirement & it is much easier to say 'no' over the phone or email then to be holding the child in our arms & saying 'no'. But still I hate to say it.  I always ask myself if it is at all possible.  I still chat to Dave about each case presented. I still pray about them.
Without a doubt the hardest 'no' was the one I hesitantly said this last week....
....but that's a story for a different day - when my heart is aching less.
Have a lovely day friends

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