I can still see the text message from the caseworker in my mind. It was a simple and direct question,
“will you take one of his siblings?”
The conversations about taking more than one child into our home was still unfinished. While we were going back and forth with the caseworker, I was making a backpack rack for the kids. When I added the 5th knob my husband rolled his eyes- he knew we were a yes.
When our sweet, chubby cheeked daughter came into our home we were undone. She was the best yes my husband didn’t want to say. She had his whole heart by the time half her foot was in the front door.
We said yes to taking her and to loving her and to advocating for her and to helping raise her for as long as she needed.
Over the following three years we watched this teetering baby grow physically, mentally, and emotionally. We watched her eat more than double her body weight in food at just about every meal. We helped her learn words and colors and shapes. We encouraged her in her difficult emotional reactions. We soothed her when she was sad and laughed with her a lot, she is quite the character.
The caseworker made recommendations, the judge made decisions, and we advocated. We spoke up because of all of the people involved in the process we knew the kids the best.
The question became,
“will you adopt?”
The conversation about adoption was not open, we had decided. It was the easiest yes we ever said.
Not everyone is supposed to foster. Not everyone is meant to adopt. However, we are all made to step into the gap for the people needing a bridge to wholeness and healing.
We are all designed to help the most vulnerable. We are all able to play a role in empowering others.
It takes a village to raise a child is more than a cliche- it's a reality. This reality is especially apparent for kids caught in the child welfare system. While there are a ton of professionals and volunteers making decisions for the kids, there are not a lot of people actually raising them. We desperately need people willing to invest in them, protect them, love them, and advocate for them.
While we are not all going to be willing, able, or convicted to become foster parents, we can certainly all do something. While the bigger acts like physically volunteering with and donating to organizations that support foster families are often more celebrated, seemingly small and inconsequential things like sharing smiles and encouraging words make the journey more bearable for both the foster families and kids. We could not have done all that we were able to do for our sweet babes while we were fostering if we didn't have the support of both organizations and individuals. We all have a role to play and one is no greater than the other.
Helping to raise the next generation to be better than us is a total team effort. The investment of your time, talent, and resources does not have to be huge in order to effect change or be helpful.
Together we can do great things.
Working to be the good,