The adventure

By jreighley - Last updated: Friday, February 4, 2011 - Save & Share - 2 Comments

My wife and I have found ourselves in the process of seeking a foster parenting license from the State of Washington.

Many people ask, are you crazy?   And our answer has to be “Apparently so”  It wasn’t something we sought to do – we just became acquainted with a youngster that may need a permanent home, and we felt called to make sure that our home was an option, should it be needed.

It is a path that is not easy, and it makes no pretense about having any certainty that anything will play out in an expected way.  We have to take about 40 hours worth of training, and do some minor remodeling of the house in order to comply with the requirements, then all of this work may not be needed.

I was fascinated by the training that we took.  It was a large class.  There where probably 30 or so couples.  I would guess that about 40%  of them where seeking to adopt kids.  Another 40% or so where trying to get custody of family members who had been taken into state care.  Aunts and uncles, grandparents and cousins trying to redeem their relatives from being placed in another home due to the drug epidemic.  The remainder where people interested in foster parenting for the sake of foster parenting.

The state’s goal is to re-unite families.  This makes the road very difficult for the couples wishing to adopt children.  Many times children that look like a sure thing to be adopted will be redeemed by a distant relative after being in a foster home for a year or more.  Hopes of years can be dashed in minutes.

On the other hand –  It does appear that the foster care system is a nearly sure fire way to adopt kids.  Recovery is a very difficult road for parents — Especially parents without strong local support systems.  The law says that the state needs to have a permanent plan in place withing 18 months of a child being brought into the system.  It might be the 7th or 10th kid that comes through your home, but eventually one of them will become free.  Nearly all of the Foster families they brought in to talk to us had wound up adopting a kid.  Sometimes unintentionally (That wasn’t their original goal)

I think many families do not go through this process because they really fear the attachment and loss cycle.  The state will take a kid out of a A level foster family and give them back to a D level biological family.  If the foster family was looking to adopt the kid it can be quite heart wrenching.  The state’s trainers tried to explain the value of persevering down  this path by setting the motive at “we just want to help kids”.

I am not sure this is the proper motive however.  I think it might be healthier to set the motive at “We want to help to heal families”  One of the foster families that talked to us said that they had had 17 kids go back to their biological families after the parents had cleaned up their act enough to get the kids back.  I think about the exponential impact that this will have.  17 families that are able to stay in tact.  Probably 30 or 40 children that are able to stay with their siblings.  Moms and dads that are able to stay involved in their kids lives.  Kids that see that Mom and Dad persevered through their weakness out of their love for the children.   It is a very good thing.

Certainly there are children who will need to be amputated from families that are unable heal,  so there is a need for adoption, and adoption is a noble motive – but redemption is exponentially better than amputation.

I do think that culturally, redemption is too gospel-centered to be promoted.   It is just a bit to generous to ill deserving folks for the general public to swallow.   It incorporates too much miraculous change for us to put any faith in.  Unfortunately,  when we prefer for villains to fall rather than be redeemed eventually we we have to apply that to ourselves.  All of us deserve to all.   All of us need a miracle.  Miracles happen and ought to be celebrated.

Posted in Uncategorized • Tags: , , Top Of Page

  • Marcy

    Good for you Josh!!! We need lots of people like you guys :-)

  • Andee

    I love you, husband. Nice article.