In the beginning, we agreed that we were all in as a couple when it came to Foster Care. We knew we would love a child or children for a season. We knew we would empty our hearts, knowledge, and compassion into every child that came into our home. We would get attached, we would love until it hurt, and then when it came time to say good-bye, we would say good-bye and share our grief with each other. We still believe this, we still own this, we are still walking this.
But, nothing ever really follows our nice laid plans, right? The Human Factor always throws us a curve ball and leaves us standing there wondering, what the what?!?
We tell ourselves on a daily basis, reunification with biological family members makes sense. It is good for children. We’ve read the stats, we’ve heard the research–reunification leads to less trauma long-term. We know it, believe it, and own it……then, BAM, the Human Factor says, ‘but, what if?’
- What if we are the better placement long-term?
- What if biological parents continue to make selfish, detrimental choices?
- What if biological parents never own their mistakes, only repeating the cycle?
- What if they don’t protect these most incredible gifts?
- What if they don’t love them?
- What if they quit their job, because their simply too tired and the job is too hard?
- What if they can’t maintain stable living?
- What if they don’t help them with homework?
- What if they don’t go to ‘Open House’ at the school and let their child show them every single thing in the room, including the stickers in their locker?
- What if they don’t believe in them?
- What if they don’t provide meals, clothing, and other items needed for them?
- What if they choose their needs over their child’s needs?
- What if they drop them off with complete strangers, over and over and over again?
- What if they are just too tired to be a parent that day or night?
- What if they don’t properly fasten them in their car seats, making sure their most precious possessions are always safe?
- What if they don’t teach them to cook?
- What if they don’t play catch in the yard, draw pictures, and laugh until their sides hurt as a family?
- What if they just suck as a parent?
- What if the children are just a status symbol and a way to get another check?
- What if they don’t take the children to church?
- What if they don’t show the boy how to treat women and show the girls how to respect their bodies and hearts?
- What if they don’t model an appropriate relationship, so their children know what love and happiness really looks like?
- What if they use drugs?
- What if they never ‘get it’?…That these children are truly God’s greatest gift to parents.
Our brains tell us, reunification is best, but our hearts are thrown off by the Human Factor that takes a journey of its own.
Regardless, four months in, we are still owning this, believing this, and walking this. Now, if someone would just tell that stupid Human Factor to shut up and leave us alone!!
– The Howard’s – Party of 8