Letters from a Foster Mum...the journey begins...

Friday, February 20, 2015

Dear Friends
Some of you may think we're crazy and I'm sure that the majority of you don't really understand.  After all we have four children so why would we want to have more in our home?  We were blessed with the iconic boy/girl followed by the good 'Christian' third child and God, well He just happened to surprise us with twins then.  We have the average Christian family in this modern age. In many minds it seems picture perfect.  So why, oh why do we feel this burning desire for more children.  And why in this technology driven age where we could get help conceiving, do we desire to bring the hurting and broken into our home? 
I mentioned last year in passing that we were completing our foster care training.  It seems we've been talking about this for a lifetime, yet never knowing the right timing to embark on what may well be one of the most difficult journeys our family is to travel.
As I sit here in the comfort of my home it's hard to imagine that there are homes unlike ours.  Instead of committed parents who love each other they are filled with strife.  Instead of children who are cared for and protected they are exposed to the most deplorable things.  After learning what I've learnt, I will never be the same.  There are children, little children, who out of no error of their own, are in the most wretched circumstances. 
In this country.  
In this state. 
My heart aches within..
Such need....such brokenness. 
This broken world......sigh

While I hesitated to write about it at the time, it actually took a little over 12 months from our initial contact to becoming fully accredited.  The length of time being double what is generally projected was mainly our fault. While fostering was always in our plans, we had to be certain about the timing.  We know that our children are entering a very sensitive time in their lives and we needed to be sure that they were mature enough to not just pass through this difficult stage of puberty, but also be able to reach out and help these hurting children who would be placed into our family. We are not naïve enough to think this will be easy or pain free.  Most people who choose to foster say it is one of the most difficult, yet most worthwhile things they have done.
After much prayer & discussion with the desire burning stronger still, we decided to continue on this journey. Step by step. Meeting by meeting.  Interview by interview.  Knowing that should we at any place in the journey want to stop we could.  Yet knowing that we were meant to be doing it. 

It was difficult at time as we slowly delved into the deepest crevices of our lives. There were sessions where it all seemed too heavy & where the tears flowed freely, yet there were many times when we laughed together as well.  It was an amazing bonding time for Dave and myself as a couple and also for our family.  Some interviews were separate, some together.  Each child was interviewed alone (we weren't far away).  Our CART worker was amazing!  She made us feel right at home.  She was caring, loving, sensitive, accepting and kind.   

And finally we were through the interview process & into our training.  

The training, for me, was the most difficult part.  Not because I don't think I can parent a broken, hurting child, but because this is where they present the real life scenarios of what this brokenness is.  This is where they share the startling statistics. This is where the focus is removed from "us" to "the child".    There were many times when I shuddered, considering what has happened to children - what is happening.  To someone who was raised as I was in a loving Christian home it is so hard to fathom what many, many people have to go through.  How very blessed I was. 
One of my favourite parts of the group training was meeting the other potential foster carers.  I was amazed at the many ages and stages of life this group represented.  All kinds of economic situations, family make-ups, ages (yes, even an almost retired couple).  Yet everyone felt a burden for these needy children.  Every one of us wanting to make a difference!

Then finally, just as spring was turning into summer, we received our accreditation. It was almost 12 months to the day from our initial information session.  We are officially foster parents for our state! 
 Our plan...well we would love to foster one or two little ones who are younger than our twins by at least two years (OK I would love a baby, but that's rather unlikely....I can pray though).  And we are praying for permanent placements ( with the option of adoption in the future if possible). 
 God's plan....we shall wait and see. We know His Will is best.  He knows our weaknesses and our strengths.  He knows exactly who should join our family and for how long.
Even if this was all done just to have the short placement we already had, it was worth every second of it.
This journey, long or short, easy or hard, we do not know what it will be.  However we are assured that for our family fostering is meant to be part of our journey.  If we can make a difference even in one little one's life than it is worth it!
NB: All photos in this post are our own bio children.  They were taken at Bruny Island in Tasmania on a beach that Captain Cook stopped at!

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