I’ve been thinking a lot about Esther lately and how she lives an extraordinary life. You know who else lives extraordinary lives? Foster parents and parents who adopt.
I have a huge passion for foster care and adoption. Josh and I went through the whole foster care certification process when we were first married. We were trained, did the home study, and were pretty much ready for a child. I will get into the story more tomorrow, but we ended up not doing it. By going through all the training, I learned that it takes a lot of love and a lot of sacrifice to take in a child who has gone through so much already. My heart hurts for these children who have to suffer consequences from circumstances that aren’t their fault. My heart hurts for foster parents who care for children and then have to return them to their biological parents.
These people take an extraordinary risk to make a difference in a child’s life. They give up their life for the life of a child. Foster care is tricky. You never know what is going happen. For the child, usually it’s in their best interest to be reunited with family. That’s what I learned when I volunteered for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). That isn’t always the case. You want to be happy for the child to go back home and for the parent who hopefully has healed. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to return a child to their parents after knowing some of what put the child in foster care to begin with. So many questions would be going through my mind. Are the parents really in a good place to care for the child that I have loved in such a short time? Will I ever see this child again? Can you promise me this child won’t be hurt again? Can you promise me the child will be loved as much as I love him/her? Foster parents are strong people. Foster parents take risk to make this world a better place. Their risk makes a difference.
If you are thinking you want to be involved in the foster care/adoption process but can’t do either right now, you can volunteer to be a CASA. I did it and it was a challenging, but life changing experience. A CASA is given a CPS case and has the responsibility of determining what is in the best interest of the child in regards to the child’s permanency plan. Should the child go back with their biological parents, group home, foster care, etc? You gather information from people that surround the child (ex. therapists, foster parents, teachers, case worker, etc) in order to come to your conclusion and then share your opinion in court. Check it out: http://www.casaforchildren.org/site/c.mtJSJ7MPIsE/b.5301295/k.BE9A/Home.htm
On the adoption front, Jamie Ivey is a woman who has been an inspiration to me. I don’t know her personally, but by reading through her blog and our churches partnering to make our city a better place, I really respect the way she lives her life. Her and her husband, Aaron, have adopted three out of their four children and she is a leader in the Christian community. She is definitely someone I would like to emulate. http://jamieivey.com
Stay tuned tomorrow for a crazy story from my experiences with foster care and CASA!