Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Basics {Foster Care}

I am adding a new tab to the top of my page {where this post will live} - For any of my readers that are curious about our ventures in foster care

What is it?

Foster care is a safe home provided when a child cannot live with his/her own family for one reason or another. Children enter the foster care system for a variety of reasons: neglect, abuse, the child is acting out/uncontrollable, a family crisis or lack of suitable guardian once parents are deceased. 

Foster families provide children with the things they need to live a healthy life: food, clothing, safety, school, love/affection and a safe home.  In some cases, children will return home with the parent but in other circumstances parental rights can be terminated and the child will need a permanent home or an adoptive family. Foster families may serve as a landing spot for children until that permanent home can be found. Before becoming a foster parent, an adult or couple must go through intense certification courses, home studies, background checks, etc. 

How does it work?

Well, we have a DCS {Department of Child Services} case worker that will call us when they have a child in need of a home. Some kids are brand new to the system and some kids may be leaving their previous foster home for some reason. Then, my parents discuss the placement. How old is the child? gender? number of children? etc. Once a decision is made {usually within a matter of minutes} we tell DCS yes or no. If yes, the child is either brought to our home or in Baby M's case, picked up from the hospital. They then live with us as a member of our family. There will be a preliminary hearing within 48 to 72 hours after the child comes into state custody. Multiple court dates will follow if the placement is legitimized. We do not know how long we will have them, it could be days, weeks, months or years. 

Why don't you just adopt the kids?

Not all children that are in foster care are available for adoption. Many children still have parents or extended family that will eventually care for the child after the case has gone to court. Sometimes, there are multiple weeks or months between court dates and, thus, the process is drawn out and the children are not allowed to return home for extended periods of time. 

Why do you put yourself through that?
"I couldn't do that. It would be too hard to let them go."

Yes, it is hard to let go of someone you love. Trust me! But we had a long, hard conversation about what was best for our family. Is it better for us to live without hurt in our heart just so that we do not have to face the pain of saying goodbye to a child that has lived in our home? OR should we put our feelings to the side to love and care for those that are in need? Yes, our feelings are important but they should not hinder us from obeying the Lord's calling. After all, we have each other to lean on and to cry with, some of these children have absolutely no one in this world to love them or to care about them. With that being said, we have also had to learn what we can handle.

 My family has found that God tells us many things in the Bible about orphans. It is like a letter written to guide us through our life here on the earth. We want to spend our time here making a difference and God has given us the opportunity of foster care to do just that. 

"Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute."
 Psalm 82:3

Daily, we get to interact with children, extended families, DCS workers, Court employees and other foster families. We can show the love of God in every encounter we have with each of thee people. Not everyone is called to foster or adopt but we are all called to do somethingIf you know someone who fosters or adopts, love on them! One of the least helpful things we hear is "bless your heart." God is our rock. Take your pity and do something about the injustices of this world! I have never seen my parents or my faith grow like it has since 2011. If you take steps in faith, the Lord will bless you. 

"In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive."
Acts 20:35

To maintain the privacy of children in state custody, I will limit my posting of pictures until the child exits custody. 

If you have any personal questions or would like further explanation, email me @ meagan [dot] arthur92 [at] yahoo [dot] com

1 comment:

  1. What a great post. I work as a paralegal in my county's Children & Youth agency, and while it is a very tough job, I am so thankful for people like you and your family! You are making such a huge difference in so many lives!


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