Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Harsh Reality of Foster Care

Ok, I have been quiet long enough, but I must speak out. I have tried to protect the life choice of several of my girls, but I must give my opinion. . well because I am the mom and this is my blog.

About a year ago we begin to face the Harsh reality of parenthood. As Foster parents a different reality sets in when kids you have seen through the brutal years of teenagerhood start to "make their own choices". Yes "make their own choices" is what we will call it, but we all know what it means. Teenagers facing early adulthood have one thing on their mind. . Independence, notice with a capital I. (there are so many spiritual analogies I could apply here, but I will at the end)


I have cried my eyes out, screamed, defended, helped, driven, yelled, begged, pleaded, preached at, talked with, prayed over and prayed for these girls. They are mine! I have earned the stripes to be called mother and J has earned the stripes to be called father, trust me EARNED THEM, not even their biological mothers call to tell them Happy Birthday, write letters, or check on them. To my knowledge they have never even sought them out. I have poured the sweat and tears into seeing them to where they are. . Young Adulthood. Several of our girls came during the most tumultuous years of their lives, PUBERTY. Most of their worldviews on life had been burned into memory due to the circumstances from which they came. Many ADULT topics they were exposed to were set in place. The images were there, had been felt, lived out and witnessed. . there is no turning back the permanency of the effects of what they have seen. (yes it matters if your small child witnesses a fight between mother and father, yes it matters if your small child wants to see a PG-13 movie, but that is another post) Many of the children we have helped through the years come to us with scarring that is not their fault, to add to their pain, there is no one, no one lining up to parent them!

We have tried to "play catch-up" if you will, to pour into and invest all we can into our children that did without for many of the early years of their lives. We have invested in private schools, taken them on vacations, plane trips, church trips, family meals fit for kings, had devotions, prayed together,. . you name it, we wanted them to HAVE it, SEE it, LIVE it. Thanks to our unique and special organization so much has been provided for them. BUT when early adulthood sets in, somehow it isn't enough anymore. They want to do it their way, don't we all. BUT when the price to pay is hurting so many people in your path to GET what YOU WANT. The price is too high, for me! BUT not for them.

In the past week, two of our girls have decided to take life by the reigns and do it all on their own. Are they equipped for the journey? Maybe, maybe not. BUT the problem is the destruction and forest fire left behind has left all of us blindsided, hurt, crushed, disappointed and faced with a harshness that stings. To watch small children left behind cry out that those they have developed relationships with have just walked out on them without saying goodbye is just wrong. It is the harsh reality of what we do. . care for orphans in their distress. But what about when they "don't want you anymore". . you keep loving them, but watch them chose a path that will bring disaster? What then? How do you manage?

Oh how our Lord must mourn for us daily when we take the reigns from Him. Who are we to think that we know better than Him, and when we cry out to Him. . "I don't need you, I'm gonna take this one, you don't know better than me." A parent's frustration and I in my state is only a tiny percentage of what He must feel for us DAILY! To watch all He provides for us, then to turn back to sin constantly.. HIS love and mercy humbles me. I can only offer the same for my children because He has done that for me. That's how I keep going, that's how I face the harshness, and that's how I continue in the daily grind. . because I know I have Hope in a Savior that promises a final chapter of redemption for all of His children, even mine.


Work In Progress said...

It is so true when you said "there is no turning back the permanency of the effects of what they have seen."

But PLEASE remember this, the permanency of the effects of the love of God that you and J have shown these children will NEVER fade away either.

Prov 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

You have trained them and shown them the love of their Abba you just have to trust the Creator.


Kendra said...

I have never commented before, but I love your blog. My husband and I have been house parents to teenage girls for four years, and I find your posts about your family often so encouraging in this often difficult walk.We have cared for over 32 girls, and only a small (very small) handful go on to make something of themselves. You are right, it is the harsh reality that we must face each day.When I continuously get calls after they leave from homeless shelters and county jails, I wonder what good I have invested in them at all. Why do I do this day in and day out? But then God gently reminds me that I do not do it for me, or even really for them. I do it for Him.He loves these girls more than I ever can, and He alone holds their futures in His hands. While I wish it did not have to be this way, my only prayer is that someday they will remember something they saw/witnessed while staying in our home and come back to the Truth. May God bless you and all of your children as you continue on in this journey.


Donna said...

Praying for strength for you...never think you aren't a good,, GREAT mother! Time will tell you that and the seeds that you have planted WILL come back to you...patience.

Mom of Eleven said...

Thanks so much for the TRUTH. Sometimes I need to hear it too. Thanks for the encouragement and please pray for A tonight! She is probably resting her head tonight with some regrets!

macmama said...

Sweet W,

This is a beautiful reminder of our Jesus' true love for us. You are an incredible mom, an incredible person, and I am SO glad that God has chosen you for this task and brought you to our sisterhood. Praying for you tonight!!!

macmama said...

Sweet W,

This is a beautiful tribute to the perfect and true love that Jesus offers us.

You are an incredible mom, an incredible woman, and I am SO thankful that God has called you to this ministry and to our sisterhood! We love you and are praying for you tonight!!


twinkle said...

Oh, W!
I will be praying for all of you! I'm dealing with two very precious prodigals of my own flesh and blood. God has allowed you to teach them TRUTH and UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. They will never be able to say they didn't know better. And my heart tells me they will return and soon. Not just to you but to their ABBA Daddy. Keep on your knees and workout your arms so that you can hug them so tightly when your prayers are answered. Jesus NEVER fails.

Julie said...

Heart is breaking but rejoicing at the same time. You are doing His work my friend. I know this is tough- I can only imagine but keep on loving on those sweet kids as I know only you and Johnathan can. They are so blessed to have y'all!

Miss Meliss said...

I just started fostering a couple of months ago (but had adopted my first daughter, she's only 3 though)... I'm fostering a 17 year old girl. I understand what you are saying...and worry that could happen here. Of course, she will leave at 18 (or when she graduates HS), but I hope it isn't because she is mad or just walks out.

I am so sorry for you and for how you must be feeling. And how your husband and other children are feeling. I'm sending up prayers for you all. And for your fosters, too.

T, my foster, said I treated her like she's not as 'mature' as she is... because I don't want her to watch rated R stuff or really bad stuff on TV. All we can do is try, right? Keep praying. Your last paragraph says so much that is true, God loves us even when we don't love Him. Yikes. So, I believe that we, too, should try even when it is hard, right? Especially, if we have a heart for foster or adoption.

Anyway, thank you SO MUCH for sharing.

I guess I'll share my favorite verse, too,

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12


Cyndi said...

Although I read your blog, I don't remember posting a comment before now. I want you to know to never give up hope for those girls. I moved in with a family that took me in at one of the most important times in my life. I tried it their way for a while, yet when I reached young adulthood, I wanted it my way. Things got strained between us and I moved out. It wasn't easy, but now we have a wonderful relationship. I call them my mom and dad and their daughters are my sisters. I know firsthand about the screaming, begging, crying, and praying that a parent does for her kids. No matter if they birthed them or not. Please don't give up hope. When you feel you don't have any more to give, look deep inside and remember that you may be only hope these girls have seen.
Thanks for being so honest with us.

Emmy said...

My heart is just broken for you all because I know and have seen the absolute unconditional LOVE you have poured into these kids... You all have been Jesus in the flesh... and have truly given your lives as a living sacrifice... I am so sorry!

But as you and I know... this isn't the end of the story!

Do you remember in the Esther study the question...

If ____ then God _______!

God always prevails! Thank you Lord!

I also keep hearing in my heart... " be confident of this, that He who began a good work in you WILL carry it to completion until the the day of Christ Jesus" Phil 1:6

Love you so much! Emmy : )

elizabeth said...

Oh W! So sorry you all are going through this difficult time. I will be praying.

OurLilFullFam said...

Wow - what you must be going through. I am praying for you and the girls. Swallowing our pride is never easy, and facing our sin does sting.

I have family members who act this way (still act this way) and they were never foster kids and had a stable growing up environment - yet, they are living for the flesh.

I know you must be hurting for your little ones. I am sorry.

You are doing what God has called you to do. Keep praying, and your last words are so powerful! God is bigger than this battle. He hears our hearts and sees our tears.


Anonymous said...


This is Debbie, I met you at SSMT and we chatted about the challenges of teens. I know the heart ache and disappointment teens can bring. I have many "war" stories and would love to encourage and chat with you (you have my email). This is the hardest job you'll ever have. Please email me. Will be praying for you.


Lindsee said...

Wendy, I just read this entire post and my heart breaks for you. I am so sorry that this has happened. You're right, it is the harsh reality of fostering, but at the same time, it stings like a bee! I will be praying for your sweet family. I wish there was a way I could just come give you a hug. You are dearly loved and treasured. Know that what y'all are doing is impacting the Kingdom, without a doubt.

Much love,

Gigi said...

I went through this situation with my daughter when she was 17. She'll be 22 on Monday. I have a 19 month g-daughter now and a not so good son-in-law. The lessons she's learned in 2 years has been tremendous. I wondered why for a long time. What did "I" do wrong. Finally, the Lord told me, "this might not be about you. She's my child too. I have work to do in her." This has been hard for me to "let" God do His work on my children. We've given them boundaries, and told them the consequences, but they don't listen. Trust me, they'll be back! With heads hung low. And you'll love them even more than ever and they'll love Christ more than ever. Praying for you!

ForHisGlory said...

Sweet W,

There are so many things I want to discuss with you as I am slightly walking through this with my adopted girl...I love you so much and hope we can connect outside of blog world... My email..

I love you girl so much, you are a great treasure to me!


Fiffer said...

I am so sorry. I love your blog (especially the music!) and think what you're doing to show Jesus to these kids is incredible. And oh how your heart must be aching. I will pray for these girls and for your whole family. I have a brother who's running from the Truth right now also so can feel some of your pain. Take good care. You're an amazing lady!

Jesusistheparty! said...

Peace be with you. I can relate to a degree the heartache of the "making their own choices" phase of your foster children's lives because all over my family is this going on....from my young adult step-children to my 48 year old sister and my 30 year old nephew, etc.!!! Feb. has been a tough month but today is March 1st and I have such hope in Christ and am beginning to see some hearts turning and others on the verge, ptL!!!! I will pray for your fam!!! Your honesty rocks!

connorcolesmom said...

It reminds me of the story of the prodigal son - we all think we are "ready" for the real world and that as teens we know so much
the truth is God has each of our children in the palm of His hand and all we can do is trust Him and PRAY
I will be praying for all of you!
Asking God to reveal to your girls Truth, Peace, and wisdom
Much love