Contents tagged with foster care

  • Was Blind but Now I See, So Clearly

    The doctors believed initially that Baby Jay was blind. We were told to bring him to an ophthalmologist within a month of his hospital discharge. I thought he could see perfectly well and was shocked when the doctors said he could only see color, light, and indistinct shapes. He was six months old.

    Today he got his first pair of glasses. I expected a battle just getting them on his face, never mind keeping them there, instead I got laughter. As soon as we set them on his little nose his eyes widened and he started chortling and pointing at the eyeglasses displayed all around us.

    I took him out into the window filled atrium. He was craning his neck to look up at the skylights, out the windows, down the hallways. He was so interested in the things he was seeing that I had to keep stopping him from bumping into the pillars.

    And then he ran. He has never run before. I thought this was due to physical delays, but maybe he just couldn’t see far enough ahead to feel safe running. He let go of my hand and ran down that hallway, laughing, babbling, and gesturing as so many smiling adults stopped to look on.

    “Thank you, Lord,” I breathed, unsuccessfully blinking back tears. “Thank you.” …

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  • Hollywood, I've Had Enough

    My husband and I recently borrowed a TV show on DVD and began watching it together that evening. The storyline so epitomized the way that Hollywood portrays adoption and foster care that Matt may have needed to pause the disc for five solid minutes while I ranted.

    The basic premise of this particular show is that the main character, Emma, was found as a newborn beside the road. She spent three years in foster care before someone finally adopted her.

    Halt!

    Really? A healthy newborn with no family or attachments would never sit in foster care for three years. She would have been adopted by a family who desperately wanted her within her first year, likely within six months, and probably by the foster family she started with. Caseworkers try to put little ones likely to become adoptable with foster families looking to adopt.

    Next, Emma reveals that the family who finally adopted her put her back in the system when they had their own children. Seriously? Do you know anyone who has ever stopped loving one of their children when a younger sibling arrives? No? Me neither.

    It turns out that Emma “gave up” her own child when she was eighteen and in this fairy tale based show her son’s …

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  • A Desperate Need

    Washtenaw County currently has about 300 children in foster care and a desperate shortage of foster homes.  Our licensing workers call us semi-regularly asking for names of anyone we know who might be interested in fostering, anyone at all.

    When a child or children cannot be placed in a home several things happen.  First the caseworkers start calling homes that are less and less ideal for that child.  An ill-fitted placement is better than no placement at all.  Sibling groups have to be separated.  Kids are put in homes that will take them temporarily and then will be moved multiple times as a long term placement is located.

    While these things are bad, two are worse.  The first is this:  Kids who can’t be placed, even young ones, will be sent to a homeless shelter overnight and a placement will be sought again the next day.   The second is this:  Many, many teenagers are being placed in group homes, essentially modern day orphanages.  In the words of a Navigator I spoke with in November, “If they weren’t already damaged, the group home will damage them real quick.”

    When the subject of foster home shortages came up at a recent foster parent training I asked why they thought that …

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  • Called to Let Go

    I hold her close against my chest long after she surrenders to sleep, cherishing these precious moments with the daughter whom I have only a few more days with…

    When we brought baby Jennifer home from the hospital there was every indication that we would be adopting her.  The months passed.  The certainty grew, as did her place in our hearts.  With her gregarious personality and happy chortle she became an integral part of our lives.  Then, her parents changed their minds.  A terrible caseworker combined with an apathetic lawyer in an overtaxed foster and court system to make a perfect storm of a foster care mess.

    But, through it all God protected this baby.  He used us to meet her needs in ways which no one else could.  Now, we have just a short time left with her, and as I rock her to sleep I wonder: How do you fit a lifetime of love into a few short days, especially knowing that she may never experience it again?  How do I let go and trust that God can care for her without my help?

    Time passes and the night wears on.  Jenn sighs in her sleep and lays her little fist against my chest.  I stroke her tiny fingers one at a time trying to memorize the little dimples in each …

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