January 28, 2012

The Story

Since the beginning of time, people have been intrigued by a great story.   An attention-grabbing opening scene, an interesting cast of characters, a lively plot full of action with a little bit of suspense mixed in, and of course a happy ending.  And since the creation of the first man and woman, everyone has been given his own story.  Some people’s stories may be shorter or longer than others, some are more adventurous, and some are filled with more joy or tragedy, but everyone’s story is uniquely his.  Unfortunately, for many foster children, their story seems somewhat incomplete, with pages or even whole chapters missing. 

January 14, 2012

The Boy Within

“I want to kill you!”  The irate teenage boy is screaming into his younger sister’s face, his heart full of rage and his mouth full of threats.   I observe with horror the volatile scenario in my own living room, hoping against hope that the words don’t escalate into a physical altercation!

I have mere moments to draw upon all of my parenting experience, to frantically pray for God’s wisdom in this situation, and to decide on the best way to respond.  Should I do nothing and just hope that everything dies down on its own?  Should I calmly remind him of the proper way to express his anger?  Should I thank him for verbalizing how he feels, instead of actually acting on his emotions?  Should I demand that he go to his room until he calms down enough to apologize for his outburst?  Who is this stranger standing in my living room, and why, oh why, did God think that I could possibly be qualified to be his mother?

And how did this young man become so troubled and full of hate, anyway?  What painful experiences has he faced during his short time of earth that would cause him to lash out at those around him?  Sometimes I feel like a detective, piecing together the few clues that are available in an effort to understand the whole picture. 

January 7, 2012

Saying Goodbye

Although I’ve heard the question hundreds of times, I’m never quite sure how to respond when someone asks me, “Isn’t it hard when one of your foster children leaves?”  Well, I could offer the emotional reply:  “Every child that leaves my home takes a piece of my heart, and I spend weeks crying my eyes out.”  It sounds pretty sappy, but it is entirely true.  Or I could give the spiritual/philosophical answer:  “I know that no matter what happens, God is in control and loves the children more than I do, and He will watch over them wherever they go.”  Thankfully, this statement is also true.  Actually, that question itself is so ridiculous, that I’m often tempted to give a sarcastic retort:  “Oh, I’m basically a hard-hearted person, so it doesn’t bother me at all when a foster child leaves.”  Of course, there is no truth to that at all!