“This was my first Mother’s Day as your mom. You’ve lived with me for four months. You cry for me each morning. I snuggle you. I change you. I dress you. I feed you. I read to you. I hold you. I rock you. I take you on walks. I hold your hand. I dance with you. I sing with you. I talk to you. I put you down for naps. I take you to the doctor’s. I meet your every need. I treat you just like you were born of my womb. But you were not.
You are too young to know why you aren’t at home. You don’t know who I am. But you will. You will grow up. You will someday know. And that’s ok. You may live with me. You may not. You may call me mom. You may not.
You will mourn. You will hurt. You will wonder why. You will feel rejection. You will feel abandoned. And you may not.
You will feel fortunate. You will feel like one of the lucky ones. You will feel rescued. And you may not.
I have been your mother, if only for a while. You cry for me each morning. I snuggle you. I change you. I dress you. I feed you. I read to you. I hold you. I rock you. I take you on walks. I hold your hand. I dance with you. I sing with you. I talk to you. I put you down for naps. I take you to the doctor’s. I meet your every need. I love you just like you were born of my womb. But you were not.”
I wrote this as a reflection/lament on my first Mother’s Day as a foster mom. We are still unsure about our place in the future of this little one who is still under our roof. No matter what happens in this little guy’s future, we are thankful God chose us as his family, even if it was only for a short while. Foster care has touched us.
Has foster care touched your life? Some of you know for sure that it has. You are playing a role. You are answering a call. Others, you aren’t so sure.
The truth is, it probably has, and you don’t realize it. At the end of March 2020, there were 16309 children in foster care in Texas.
You may go to church with children in foster care. You may work with someone who was once in foster care. You may have family who are foster parents. You may have relatives whose children were in foster care. Your children may go to school with kiddos in foster care.
The sad truth is that foster care is a necessary part of our society. And it’s not necessarily evil, but it’s also not necessarily good. The goal for the kiddos in care is permanency. And while the ideal situation is for children to return to their biological families, sometimes that doesn’t happen. Sometimes it’s not in their best interest.
Whether kiddos are in foster care for a long time or a short time—whether they achieve permanency with bio families or not—what I do know is that we as a culture can’t stand on the sidelines and watch. We can’t stand by and do nothing. We can’t pretend that foster care hasn’t touched our lives or won’t affect our lives in the future. Please do not ignore “the least of these.”
Matthew 25:40 states,
“…Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
I beg you to stand in the gap. Step up and help in whatever way you can. Pray about it. Meditate about it. Think about it. Listen to your heart. I know we all have a place to serve in this ministry. And it is a ministry. Helping children in foster care is stepping up to meet spiritual, emotional, educational, developmental, and physical needs–ministering to them.
Locally, in Lubbock County, some agencies license foster homes. Those agencies need support. They have financial needs. They need to stock clothing closets and food pantries. They need foster families. They need families willing to be respite care providers.
As Texas reopens, agencies expect an influx of more children coming in to care (source: https://www.kcbd.com/2020/05/19/local-foster-care-agency-prepares-influx-referrals-texas-reopens/). Texas is touched by foster care.
Please, chose to be touched by foster care. Give of your time, money, resources, and maybe even your home and your love. You won’t regret it.
Here are some agencies in our area (Note: This list is not exhaustive. Please feel free to add additional agencies in the comments section.)
Also, Caleb’s Closet is a local non-profit organization that provides clothing for children in foster care. They rely on donations of clothing and donations of time to sort donations, run shopping events, etc.