A Bag Full of Teeth

I’m gonna be honest, when we first looked into working with DCFS, it was to become adoptive parents not foster parents.

As we went through training we changed our minds and chose to go the route of fostering as well as hopefully adopting eventually. Over the past two and a half years, we’ve loved 20 kids, ranging from 5 days old to 8 years old. Their time as a part of our family ranged from a record 3 hours to nearly 8 months. We’ve worked through eating and sleep fights to behavioral issues that involved physical violence toward our biological children.

I will never say we’ve seen it all; the friends we’ve made have us beat either with placement stories of their own or cases they’ve worked. I will say it has been an eye-opening adventure, one that allows us to live the deepest sorrows as well as the greatest joys that life has to offer. We experience the need for God’s forgiveness, mercy, and grace. We celebrate His provision of family, protections, and restoration. Some of these things, I’m unsure could be learned in any other realm.

Let me tell ya, if you’re considering working with DCFS, at all possible- Chose One.

  • Go the route of fostering and use your gifts of flexibility to love children whole heatedly as they work toward reunification in healed homes.
  • Go the route of adoption and use your gifts of perseverance to seek out children whose parents have lost their rights.

Attempting to do both may kill you. To some extent, that has been the source of all our frustration with the system: battling the emotional stress of loving a child that might stay forever or might leave in an hour is torturous. Giving your all and making yourself stay checked-in for the sake of the child is agonizing.

That means, rocking that newborn for his at 4am feeding to make sure he develops healthy attachments, even if that’s with someone else. That means cheering on strangers as they make progress to earn back the right to parent the children you’ve fallen in love w children.

That means consistently disciplining the child who doesn’t know how to resolve conflict without his fist, even if your biological children are at the other end. That means being frustrated with parents don’t make the progress you [and your self-righteous standards] wanted them to before their children go back into their care.

That means waiting for a child to wake after an oral surgery. That mean holding his something tightly, wondering if these will go in his baby book as a treasured memory or if, to someone else, you’re just holding a bag full of teeth- an odd thing someone else possibly won’t care about when you’ll eventually send with him as he leaves your care to finish the rest of his life.

It means trusting God to use all things for good in your life because you love Him.

Trusting God is good and has good things He desires for you in your life is a process of being broken, shattered, smashed to smithereens and then reformed, molded, and made into something new, hopefully stronger, braver, and more faithful to the plans God has for us. How does God want to break you in the area of caring for orphans in order to grow you in your walk with Him?

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