*as always, names have been changed for peoples protection and privacy
As a foster mom I’m always looking forward to getting more kids. I love getting that phone call and I love hearing about the kids that could join our family for a while. I love the feeling of being useful that I get when I take care of these kids. I love helping them grow and meeting their needs. The opportunity excites me. In my career as a foster mom I’ve gotten 9 calls to foster placements. Of those calls we have said yes four times. Those phone calls were Mr.H and his brother, Sam and Olivia, Hiccup, and a baby who never made it to our house before kinship was found.
Incase you missed it, there were 6 other times we’ve been asked to take kids in that we had to say no to. There were two Native American girls, A baby girl in December, A little boy who we got a call for at 10 pm, A child who was found in a car with a person who had warrants out for their arrest, a child whose father had kidnapped her and whose mom was a mess, and two little boys whose case was so far along that parental rights were going to be terminated in a month and adoption was the option they were looking for. I remember them all. I remember my heart breaking when the answer to prayer was to say no. I remember my heart breaking when the answer to the prayer was that they wouldn’t be part of our family, even for a little bit.
I was talking to a friend who is a also a foster mom, lets call her Kristin. She got a call about a baby whose case was also headed for adoption. Like me she struggles with infertility, so it was extra hard for her to say no to a baby that could potentially be a forever baby. However after a lot of prayer she realized she wasn’t supposed to say yes to this one. Her heart broke. However her hands were full with her birth kids and the placement she already had. I understood because that is what we had just gone through a few months ago with the two little boys.
There are people out there who try and make foster parents feel guilty for saying no to a placement that we know nothing about. Some people judge foster parents for saying we can’t handle what this kids dishes out, or what their birth family dishes out. Some people get mad at foster parents for having kids in their home and then acknowledging that they can’t meet the child’s needs and asking that they be removed. Some of these people work in the foster system and others are outsiders with no idea what they are talking about. The truth is that even the people in the system who think you should always say yes are outsiders too because they don’t know everything that the foster family is going through and they aren’t the ones who have to live with it all day in and day out.
The truth is that sometimes we just aren’t the family that the kids need. Sometimes the kids need parents with different parenting styles or different personalities. Sometimes the kids need siblings or no siblings and thats not what’s in your home. Sometimes the kids need parents with more experience in the areas that they are struggling. Sometimes the kids are just not right for your home for reasons that only Heavenly Father understands, but he understands and he has an amazing plan.
A perfect example of this is Mr.H. He had been to a different home for two weeks before he and his brother came to us. I have no idea why those foster parents changed their minds. I do know that I am so grateful they did. We are meant to be Mr.H’s forever family and we were meant to help his brother on his way back to his dad. It never would have happened if the former foster family hadn’t had the courage to admit that they were not able to take care of them. My son who calls me mommy would never have come to us and we would be missing him without knowing who he is. I also know that we were not ready for them to come at the moment they entered care. Those two weeks they spent with the foster family made it so our boys could come to us. While I imagine the other foster parents were very sad and confused about sending the kids back, Heavenly Father knew what he was doing and I appreciate the other foster parents willingness to follow His plan even when it hurt.
So dear foster parent who had to say no to a placement you were excitedly waiting for, don’t cry too many tears. You will get the call that is right one day. Dear foster parent who has done all they could, yet still has to call a caseworker to let them know that the placement isn’t working and the kids need someone else, don’t beat your self up. You did your best and it wasn’t for nothing. These children are Heavenly Father’s children. He will look out for them, we just have to follow the promptings He gives us.