Pregnancy is such an exciting time! You ﬁnd out that your family is growing by two feet and you eagerly anticipate a sweet little angel to love and care for from his ﬁrst breath through to all the days of his life. No one can tell you what to name him, no one held him before you did, no one made any decisions without asking you, and certainly no one harmed him. No one will be ﬁghting to get him away from you. Parenting is all about you and your preferences and your choices.
Not so much in foster parenting. When we were waiting for our ﬁrst placement as a foster home, we had no idea if it was going to be a boy, two boys, three boys, one girl, three girls, or a mixture of each gender. We didn’t know if they’d be babies, or a six year old. We didn’t know if they’d be dirty, fed, terriﬁed, or rebellious… Everything was completely out of our control.
When we did get our placement, it was a four year old boy, and his just turned two year old little sister. (For the sake of this post, we’ll call them Evan & Annie.) They were actually coming to us from a different foster home who could not care for them anymore. They had been in foster care for almost 18 months by that point after being taken from their birth mother when Annie was born addicted to methamphetamine. The state wanted to take Annie, and then checked the home and found a very dirty, and very neglected Evan as well. The ﬁrst foster home reported that Evan would take food out of the trash cans and store it for later. Annie had some delays and very crossed eyes, but overall was a content baby. As she grew older, the moderate developmental delays were becoming more and more evident. At two years old when she came to our home, she could not walk, and rarely smiled without a lot of coaxing. She had very low muscle tone and could not see well at all. She spoke no words, and needed braces on her legs. Evan was a very emotionally delayed child, often playing too rough and clearly didn’t trust us to do what was right for him or for his sister. This distrust was shown by extreme behavioral issues. We knew we were in for a long road of healing for both of these children. We had gone through hours and hours of training for this through the state, but only God could carry us through the time to come.
Something difﬁcult about foster parenting is that so many of the seemingly small decisions you make for the kids have to be cleared by another person. There were so many rules. And the paperwork… oh the paperwork for every little scratch and diaper rash was daunting. I remember when I picked Annie up from church childcare she had fallen and had a small scratch on her face and the childcare worker felt so bad because she knew that meant pages of paperwork! Let me tell you though, that Evan and Annie were/are so completely worth it. They certainly didn’t deserve to struggle daily with things that most children can’t even fathom.
Beyond all of those obstacles we were now facing, Evan and Annie were the loves of our lives from day one! We were hooked. In this situation, their biological parents’ rights were already terminated so we didn’t have to worry about them being taken from our home like many foster parents have to anticipate as a possibility.
After a short time, it was hard to get Annie to stop smiling! She got glasses, braces, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy and was ﬁnally getting the resources she deserved. Evan was loving his new community and family, soaking up all the attention he could get and he deserved it!
Being completely in love with these two amazing children who had so much stacked against them, I started to become very bitter about what their birthmother had done to them. The horrible choices she made were impacting these kids years after the were removed from her care, and my husband and I were left to pick up the pieces and try with everything we had to help them heal from their past. How could she do this? Why wasn’t Evan rescued earlier? It was heartbreaking. Through much prayer and begging of God, He brought healing to my own heart in regards to the birthmother. I knew that I was wasting emotions on being mad at the birth parents. I needed to focus on these precious children.
We wanted to adopt Evan and Annie and love them forever in our home. After months of paperwork and waiting for the system to pull through, we adopted them 9 days before our ﬁrst biological child was born. We are so thankful to have them. We wish that the world was not a place where children are treated so cruel, but we’re just so grateful to God that he gave them to us!
Our mission is to assist women and families in the Brookings area and SDSU who are experiencing unplanned pregnancy to explore choices by providing appropriate resources and support including counseling, educational programs, and mentoring.
CALL: (605) 692-1600
Life, Love and Lessons Series
Option 1’s "Life, Love, and Lessons" blog series provides small glimpses into the life, love, and lessons from a variety parents. Some may be just like you and some may not resemble you, but each is here to share their own journey.