Recently, my buddies, who are now eight and nine, were having a rough morning. While plowing through school work, frustration ensued, books were thrown, and angry words spilled out. One of the boys was curled into an angry ball in the corner of the couch, refusing to speak to anyone. At a loss for the right words to help my son, I pulled out a book.
Of course, we know the end of the story. We know that Jesus’s season of difficulty was temporary…that it wasn’t long before that season of grief was replaced with an incredible season of joy. But Jesus had to walk through the season of pain first.
I sat back on my knees and stared at this formidable three-year-old in bewilderment. We had only known each other for a couple of days, and I was struggling to understand her. I didn’t know who or what Kurt was, and I had no ability to reunite her with anything from her life before she came to live with me.
All too often, the numbers related to foster care tell a hopeless and desperate story. The statistics are frightening, and the trends are discouraging. When we consider the full extent of the foster care crisis in the Bay Area, it’s clear that the problems are too complex for one church to solve and that the need is too great for one church to meet. That’s why 22 and 60 are two of our favorite numbers.
My husband and I had just walked out of our ninth foster parent training session. We only had one more class to complete before we would be granted our license to provide foster care. Although previous sessions had taught us about the horrifying effects of trauma and abuse and the vast responsibilities of caring for vulnerable children, nothing had deterred me from my desire to become a foster parent until that night.
Do you know what I missed most in my first month as a foster parent?
Overnight, our family had grown from four to six. We transitioned from being the parents of two elementary school students to being the parents of four children between the ages of 13 days and 8 years.
Sometimes I think it’s easier for archeologists to discover ancient artifacts than for me to discover a single detail about my child’s day at school. Thankfully, we both have tools to help us do our jobs. Archeologists have trowels, and I’ve got a marker. Whenever I sit down to draw or color with my children, we end up having some of our best conversations. The challenge is my serious lack of artistic skill.
With three of the past four NBA Championship trophies in their possession, Steve Kerr and the Golden State Warriors have proven they are champions. As Foster the Bay launches in Alameda County, it has become clear that this champion spirit runs deeper than basketball for those who live in the East Bay.
About half of all foster families quit after their first year of providing care. Similarly, the average annual rate of turnover for social workers is 30%, nearly three times the rate that’s considered optimal or healthy. This kind of turnover creates further instability and trauma for children in foster care. But Support Friends and Volunteers can make a significant impact in this area.
Our newest little guy arrived at 9:00 p.m. with a message emblazoned across his chest. His mom got him dressed and ready to be discharged from the hospital. She chose the clothes he would be wearing when he arrived at my home. I found half a dozen outfits in his diaper bag, and it was clear this outfit had been chosen on purpose: