Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Why Foster Care? Part Three of three

Before I post part three of this series, please allow me to share a little of the enthusiasm that I am trying to keep from busting out at the seams as I sit in front of my lap top this evening. Your comments have been inspiring and I am grateful for each of your visits. Janice, who shares an outstanding blog with Susan at 5 Minutes for Mom , has posted an interview (May 16) featuring this blogger! How exciting, for me, to network with other women who care so deeply about children in need. You have each blessed me with your compassionate interest; thank you so much.

Part Three

Case by case, foster family by foster child, individual intervention is not the only answer to this complex social problem. While government intervention is significant for programming and funding, there are also many private organizations that work diligently to ease the conflict that exists for children growing out of the foster care program. Downey Side Adoption Agency, originating in New York, located locally in St. Paul, works exclusively and energetically to place orphaned children with qualified and loving families. Lutheran Social Services, Children’s Home Society, and the Blair Foundation are also examples of ministries reaching out, working to provide lasting families for children and teens that need loving families. With the advent of the Internet, many organizations literally reach around the globe with the single purpose of “link[ing] individuals, companies and churches with organizations that assist children in need” (Gods Kids. Org). In addition, it cannot be understated, each and every social service agency that is unable to work the goal of reunification for a foster child, seeks a permanent family when at all possible.

It is clear; the answers will not come from one avenue, rather from our society, our community at large. As Gary Stangler, director of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative states, “[we have created our initiative to] transform the way communities view their responsibility to youth who have been removed from their families and placed in foster care” (cited in Kelley, 2001). Perhaps, if society would not limit its responsibility to single foster families, but could see it fostering these youth as a whole, foster children would not feel so abandoned, yet again, when permanent families are not available. Certainly, Christians should be the leaders in the work of finding permanent and viable answers as they listen to the heart of God and the heart of children who say:

There is a sound the heart makes. You can hear it if you will only bother to tune in to those communications that come from beyond words. It can come from people of both sexes and all ages; from people close to you and people you hardly know. It may come through the eyes, or perhaps through some part of us we don’t yet know. It can be a cry for help that is inexpressible in words, because the kind of help needed in not fully understood. Or it can be a high pitched “Understand me! Please, just understand me! I don’t even understand myself!” Sometimes the heart asks only that you notice it is there, so that the owner may be sure he truly exists. (Morrison, 1983, p. 220).

This is our challenge; not disguised by a fa├žade of legitimacy as conflict theorists may suggest, but rather, finding clear, practical and meaningful ways, to successfully make a way for the full blessings of God to reach all of His children. We know from reading Psalms 146:9a that God deeply cares for and sustains the “fatherless.” As Christians, as parents, as former children, we must make a difference in the lives of those God holds special concern for. To be used by God, in His providential care of these children, is a blessing.

Personally, Gordy and I have discovered it is not only a blessing but also a miracle; that in spite of our concerns, our failures and our mistakes, God intervened on behalf of Diana and is leading her to fullness in Him. This success did not require us to be perfect, just available. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To leave the world a little better; whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is the meaning of success.”

****************************************************************************

Tomorrow, I hope to post some related blogs and websites for your consideration. I just love the energy of caring people! For today, please stop by 5 Minutes for Mom; give them a "shout out!" Enjoy browsing a great blog that is dedicated to "bringing Moms the best in Blogging, Shopping, Parenting and Education."

14 comments:

Becky said...

I fell upon this blog a few moments ago, looking for some "heart" support this morning. As a newer foster parent, its wonderful to see that others struggle as I am. I am a young, first time parent and am doing it alone...

My foster son is 14 and angry most of the time- each day is full of unknowns, heartache and hurtful words, yet I know what i am doing matters and I know that it is what i am suppsoed to be doing right now... it is just nice to get some re-assurance from here, even if it comes through strangers! Thanks for your help...

Becky

GiBee said...

Diane -- excellent posts! I've linked you on my post today, because I really think more need to read your story, and understand a new perspective! Thanks for sharing your heart with us!

GiBee said...

P.S. -- the interview was excellent -- EXCELLENT!

michelle said...

I'm posting a link to your site on my blog! Thanks so much for stopping by and letting me know about your stuff. Aging out is such a big concern with foster kids and supporting them is something we all as a society have really done a poor job at.

Praying for your Prodigal said...

Becky,

I'm so glad you found this blog. God Bless you as you minister to this young man. Anger is a tough force to live with. I'm not sure this will help--but someone told me years ago that anger is not an isolated feeling; it is a result of fear, pain, anxiety, etc. It is not just anger...it comes packaged with other emotions.

And because foster kids have difficulty with trust--they are slow to believe any kind or nice people.

I tried to click back to your blog site...and didn't get redirected. I hope you return here--and if you do, let me know how I can contact you. Support is important when you are living, moment by moment, with a hurting foster child. I hope you have a good support system in place. Does your foster son participate in therapy? I'd love to hear more about your experience. So would the many others who have commented here. Thanks for sharing.

We'll all be praying for you and your foster son.

Diane

kpjara said...

Once again I am without words.

Thank you...so much to think about and consider.

Sandra said...

Loved your post today, you're always so inspiring :)

BTW I made you a template for you site, let me know if you want to see it, you don't have to use it obviously, I was just messing around LOL
You can email me at bourlandcs@msn.com and I'll give you the link :)

BabyGirl said...

I think there is a reason I am here. I don't know how I got here, or what led me here.. but here I am. I hope I will be able to contribute something...if nothing else I would like to tell any and all of you who are out there 'hearing the children' that ONE person can make a difference.

It took ONE person to hear me.

Praying for your Prodigal said...

Baby girl,

"For such a time as this"

I see God's handiwork in your visit here....I would, we all would love to hear more from you.

Diane

Hope said...

I stopped by for a visit. I am a foster gramma of a beautiful Cree princess.
Great post.

C. H. Green said...

Interviews. How cool is that... I read both your entries and the interview, and I was blown away by them both. Great job!

Queenbee said...

Navigated here through a few other blogs....

I am a new foster parent with a sibling group of two precious children and we very much hope to adopt them. In our church, we are talking with our pastor about setting up a Foster Care Ministry to get more of the congregation involved in doing foster care and/or adoption through foster care. I'd like to quote you in the notes I"m putting together, if you don't mind.

Heidi Hess Saxton said...

Hey, Diane!

Thought you would like to know about my upcoming column for CatholicMom.com, which addresses your three-part series on aging out. I'll post it on my "MommyMonster.blogspot.com" link. Check it out! Blessings, Heidi

Anonymous said...

The information here is great. I will invite my friends here.

Thanks