17 February 2017

foster care needs

"The prospect of having sex with strangers for money scared Jean. But returning to foster care sounded even worse. “I was willing to do whatever I needed to stay away,” she said."

That is a quote from an article I read a couple days ago and I cannot stop thinking about it. Foster care should not sound like a worse option than selling yourself for money.  This girl was 15 years old.  She had been abused by her father since she was 9, and was impregnated by him when she was 13. 

{You can read the full article here.  Its long but worth reading, in my opinion.}

This is a story out of Texas, but I can say that some of the same struggles happen in our local foster care offices as well.  I will admit that there are problems and challenges aplenty. We could spend a good long time discussing all the issues with our foster care system.  It is broken.  

Church, we hold the only answer that can fix this kind of brokenness - its Jesus.  I honestly believe that one of the critical answers to this brokenness is believing families that are willing to bravely say yes. I am not saying this is easy, but do we walk away because its hard?  We shake our head that a 15-yr old thinks prostitution is a better option than foster care, but we ourselves are unwilling to even consider it - in a way, we agree with her. Lord, help us all. 

"If you falter in a time of trouble,
how small is your strength!
Rescue those being led away to death;
hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?"
Proverbs 24:10-12

I know not everyone is able to foster a child.  But every single one of us should be praying for these children.  And we better be praying for the folks that are currently fostering.  

I am going to be real honest here, we are not currently foster parents nor are we pursuing it.  We are broken over it though, and we are praying hard. I am volunteering weekly at Buttons + Butterflies -- the boutique that serves local foster families. Its wrecking me all over again.  And while it feels small, I know it matters.  

This week I put out a call for some shoes and socks and underwear for a foster momma with four kiddos. There are plenty of clothes for the sizes that she needs but these items were lacking.  

My neighbor sent me a pic of her cart and said she had bought some things for the boutique.  This sort of thing always makes me want to cry -and for a billion different reasons it feels like.  1 - Grateful for the generosity of friends.  2 - Grateful that I get to connect the need to others that can provide for it.  And if I am being honest the other reasons aren't quite so fun to talk about.  Because I see the sweet little items and my heart breaks for the kiddos and what they may have experienced in their young lives.  There are days that I might wish I could just shrug it all off, but God keeps this place in my heart so tender.

I know some of you reading this are puzzled about what you are to do.  Its OK. Take those puzzled questions to God, He will provide answers. 

If right now your heart is beating out of your chest and your hands are sweaty and you think this might just be the time to start the process to foster, don't run from it.  Lean into it.  Faithful God will meet you there.  I know Muscogee County has an orientation coming up next week. I can get you the specifics. If you are on this side of the river, I can track down information for you too.  

If you would like to know more about meeting some of the needs of kids in care, let me know. I know baby items in good, used condition {or brand new of course!} are almost always in need - carseats, cribs, changing tables, etc.  

If you are interested in helping at the boutique I would be happy to chat with you about that. The boutique currently serves Russell County foster parents, they are able to "shop" for the children in their home and they do not have to pay for anything.  If you would like to donate to the boutique, please keep this in mind -- the goal is for this to feel like a boutique for foster families.  We do accept like-new used-clothing, but we do not want this to feel like they are shopping at a thrift store.  When I sort donations -- I don't play, I have a trash-pile, a donate-pile and a keep-pile.  We also accept donations of new underwear, bras, + socks. 

Finally, if you have questions, please ask.  No questions are off the table. This is too dear to my heart to be offended by things people don't know.  

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