The Valley of Foster Parenting by Will Vining

It’s 10:00 P.M. and a whimper echoes through the hallway. At first, there is hope she will self-soothe, but it dwindles when sniffles follow it. Netflix goes on pause, and my wife looks at me,

“Calm Ashley down,” she says under her breath.

This might sound a little heartless, but few people understand the trials of fostering. As I peek into the door 5-year-old, Ashley is clutching the unicorn blanket she received from her mother on her last scheduled visit.

“I…miss…my, mommy,” she says crying into her blanket.

Sitting down beside her bed I dance around the truth of why she cant see her mommy. The first few times I explained to Ashley her mommy is at school, and she’s doing her best to finish. Bending down on one knee I scratch her head and wipe her tears away. What am I suppose to say? There’s nothing else to say, the truth? She can’t comprehend the situation.

This mini melt-down is a bedtime routine of hers and believe me I sympathize with her. I’m the one in the McDonalds parking lot prying her fingers off her mom every visit. It’s not her fault, it never was. This little girl deserves to be in a loving home, with her biological mother kissing her goodnight.

What kept me going? Christ crucified.

It started years ago when I was holding my firstborn, Joshua. I peered into his eyes, and he stared back, instant chemistry. He is my world, my little boy; nothing could keep me from him. Then it hit me; I realized every child deserves this type of parental love. It broke me to hear stories of children as young as 2-years-old dying because their parents left them in their crib for five days. How could this happen?

It broke my heart every time, and it happened far too often. I remember tuning into the news, and there was a story about foster children sleeping in CPS offices because they had nowhere to go. CPS could not find enough foster parents to house them. Over two million people live in Austin, Texas and these kids didn’t have a place to lay their head.

Isaiah 6:8, came to my mind. “Who shall I send?” God asks Isaiah.

My heart cried, “Here I am Lord, send me.”

It wasn’t an option anymore; I had to do something. Every night I tucked in my baby boy and fell more in love with him. I could not stand the thought of a child like my boy being beaten, sexually abused, or neglected.

I remember starting the conversation with my wife, who at first was hesitant. Over time the more we talked, the more God opened her heart.

We started researching foster agencies in the Austin area and found roughly four we could choose. Come to find out the government doesn’t just give you a child, it’s a process. If you’re on top of your game and get all the courses and paperwork done, you could be certified to foster in three months, but that wasn’t the case for us.

We began our first class, only to find out we had another surprise along the way, our second son, Noah. The whole project went on hold. We still wanted to foster, but we knew that the timing was not right. We heard it was challenging to foster, and we were not ready to take on that challenge with a newborn.

After a year and a half, we were back on the horse again. We started our first training classes.

We showed up five minutes early to our first class, to an empty room. We pulled out our phones, checked our email.

“It says 9:00 A.M.,” I said to my wife.

We sat by the office door, and fifteen minutes later the elevator door opened, and a middle-aged southern woman walked out.

“Sorry I’m late,” she said sipping a big gulp of sweet tea.”Things have been hectic this week; I had a placement at three in the morning. I’m dragging a bit.”

We soon realized we were the only ones in the training class. This eight hour Saturday course became a little more personal. Through all the courses we took, we heard some of the most horrific cases. It gives you perspective on how evil this world can be.

Five months and a stack of paperwork later we’re certified. We decided during the course that we ‘re open to receiving siblings, which I don’t recommend when you have two children already. Five days later, we get a call just after midnight; it’s our foster agent.

“Will, CPS has notified us of a removal of a sibling group of five children. Are you okay with a 1-month-old and a 3-year-old?”

Two hours later we had four children, and our journey began.

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SOURCE: Christian Post