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Foster Kids

So we started foster classes tonight.  One night a week for ten weeks, three hours each night. 30 hours of training and a blizzard of forms to fill out to become approved as foster parents. We’re heading for the foster-to-adopt option. All kids in the system start out as foster kids — some get to be adopted.

Eight or ten families there, four single people. Most with kids of our own already. All sitting around tables (with candy on them!) listening to two instructors with 29 combined years of experience in the foster system.

Why are we doing this? Don’t we already have three crazy boys who keep our hands entirely full? Well, yes we do. But we’ve wanted to adopt for a long time and although we’ve always thought about the international option in the past, this seems infinitely more do-able.

If the state is going to pay us to take care of kids who desperately need help, why not take advantage of it? We don’t have the time or energy to raise thousands of dollars to go overseas. Plus, these kids are in our own backyard. There are 300-400 kids in the foster system in Daviess County alone. About 7,000 in the state. They’re practically in our laps. The system desperately needs foster parents. We can give some of these kids a home. We keep talking about it. It’s time to just do it, as they say.

Just before our class tonight, workers had to remove six kids (two sets of three siblings) from their homes. They came with the clothes on their backs. One home had a bathtub full of feces and urine. That’s where these kids came from. They needed food and clothes and a bed and someone to love them and tell them it’s going to be okay.

We can give them that. We can give them a home and we can give them the Gospel. We can get our hands dirty and do something that’s not convenient, but will show Christ in a million ways. We can be a temporary mom and dad or even permanent ones. We can show our own kids how incredibly blessed they are. We can get them excited about helping. We can integrate this into our daily lives. Yeah, life is crazy, but it would be hard to get too much crazier — why not just go for it now instead of waiting until life has calmed down? If we wait for that, we’ll never do it.

Kelsey’s more excited than I am. She’s ready for a sibling set of three to fall in our laps (okay, maybe not three). Sometimes I’m to that point, sometimes I’m not. I’m not a big fan of change, so my heart moves more slowly in instances like this. My head is there. My heart is partway there.

Our parents are supportive (my mom watched our kids during class tonight), but I think they see how busy we are already and wonder if we can really handle this. (Don’t worry, I wonder that too.) I think they think it’ s a good thing, but that it could be hard on us. (More on my mom’s foster care backstory later — she has good reason to be wary.)

Friends our own age seem excited when we tell them what we’re doing. Our pediatrician is excited and says she wants to do it herself — and she’s got three kids too.

I wonder if we’re ready, if there aren’t thing we need to focus on in our own family, if we can afford it (yeah, the state pays, but still … another kid will cause a lot of changes), if we won’t be short-changing our own kids, if, if, if.

Here’s the thing. There are kids out there who need help. They need love. They need parents. We can give them those things. We can give them the Gospel. God calls us to help the fatherless. So let’s do it.

Update: It’ll be several months at least before we’d be eligible to get a placement. We’ve heard it takes six to nine months from the time you start the classes before you’re eligible, depending on how fast you get the forms in. Then it’s just a matter of getting a call and deciding if you should say yes or no …