Hey there! It's me. 2018 is here and some of you are thinking now is the time.
Now is the time to respond to the opioid epidemic and the subsequent surge in foster care placements.
Now is the time to get your foster license and make family available either temporarily or more permanently to some kids who haven't had a very easy go of it.
I'm your biggest fan. If you go down this road, you can be a literal world changer for the kid or kids you welcome into your home. The numbers are staggering regarding how many kids in the system end up dropping out of high school, experiencing teenage pregnancy and ending up in prison. You can help rewrite stories, break toxic cycles, restore nuclear families, help a kid feel loved, safe and at home.
As someone who has gotten my feet wet in this crisis, I think I can offer a piece of advice as you head down this road:
Don't do it.
It's hard as hell.
You're committing to open your home, your marriage, your kids up to total strangers. Strangers who have often been neglected. Often abused. Often undisciplined. Often underfed. Often overmedicated. Often terrified. Often pissed off that they got taken from their home. Often distrusting because the last placement gave up on them or hurt them or didn't want them.
They will disrupt your routine, your sleep, your systems.
They will rock the boat. They will sabotage the one thing you and they both know they need. They will sabotage the love you are trying to give them. They will self destruct.
So don't do it. Because if you have stars in your eyes that it will be a happy story or an instant connection and if you think they will be compliant and grateful, you will be crushed...devastated when reality sets in.
They've been ripped from their home and in many ways their hearts ripped from their chests. You will be near the top of their list of people to blame for this.
I know. I know. You had nothing to do with that. You're just opening your home out of the goodness of your heart. They don't see it that way.
So again...Don't do it.
There is a surprising number of foster homes who take one placement and then never do it again or after a very short time with a placement realize how disruptive the foster kids are and ask for removal. It's hard as hell.
Getting a stranger to let down their guard enough to even begin considering the prospects of family is brutal. Even if you are consistent and persistent, it may never take. Even if you have predictable patterns and clarified expectations, it may never translate to trust.
Don't do it.
That's the advice I'd give you. It's also probably the advice I'd have given God. Don't bother with these wicked, destructive, self-centered humans. They will seek to sabotage the very thing God wants to lavish on them. And yet God takes the road less traveled. Sent from Heaven to save from Hell. He looked at the mess of our rebellion and chose restoration and redemption at substantial cost. Where it seemed He had multiple choices, He saw only one. He couldn't not engage the people He loved. He chose it, knowing full well that the story, filled with betrayal and desertion and denial and rejection would be hard as hell. But He also knew this road was right as Heaven. He couldn't not engage.
So hear me, you would be heroes of foster kids, all I can tell you is don't do it. The risks you'd be taking on your marriage and your family and your routine and your mental health and your freedom and flexibility in your schedule...its costly. Don't do it.
Unless you absolutely can't not do it.
Then do it with everything you've got.
It will be hard as hell. But you know with every fiber of your being, its right as Heaven.