Wednesday, February 9, 2011

our house is closed.

today ryan and i easily made a difficult decision. does that make any sense?

we've been talking, praying, and debating {yes, i'm still working on the whole submissive wife thing...i'm a work in progress!} about our next steps in regards to foster care for some time now. just to put it all out there, i have been wanting to close our home for awhile. well, really since R & P were returned to their mother. however, ryan hasn't been so sure and didn't want to close our home and lose the opportunity to minister to other needy kids without really thinking things through.

however, today everything changed. on friday, i asked for your prayers in regards to a situation with R & P. thank you for all of you who prayed for the boys and encouraged us!! without giving too much information, i will say that ryan and i had to make a report regarding the boys' welfare and safety after visiting with R last wednesday at his school basketball game. it was uncomfortable and heartbreaking, but we knew it was the right thing to do. honestly, i cried most of wednesday night and thursday because i just was so devastated and confused. when we said goodbye to the boys back in october, i really tried to have high hopes for their mom and for them but all those hopes were pretty much dashed in my mind on wednesday. i wanted to believe their mother when she said that she wanted to do better for her boys and would put them before anything, but that's obviously not the case.

i also cried because i honestly didn't know what we would do if the boys came back into foster care. obviously we love them like our own sons still and could not imagine them going to another foster home, but the timing is not exactly stellar. plus, going from zero to 4 kids {3 of which would be under 2} scared me to death! i worried and fretted all weekend about what we would do if the state responded adequately to our report and what we would do if they chose not to respond at all. neither option seemed just or fair.

well, we should have known this would happen, but today we learned that the state foster care system decided to turn a blind eye to the situation completely. no surprise i guess, but heartbreaking none the less. the state was already so close to closing the case that they did the minimum follow up and decided to take the word of a torn teenager instead of really examining the facts. we were never called for follow up information or anything, but they've decided to proceed with closing the case out. when we learned that today, i was seriously dumbfounded. i thought that surely this time the state would step in and protect these children, but i was wrong!

ryan decided to call the supervisor on the case to discuss the situation with her and she was nothing less than nasty to him. i'm not sure why but somehow ryan and i have become the bad guys in this situation. i guess it's because we're stirring up the pot when they just want to be done with this case because that's more convenient, but we could not sleep at night if we had not done our due diligence to report what we had seen. ryan told the supervisor that he was sick over the fact that nothing more had been done and was seriously considering closing our foster home over this. the supervisor replied only with, "OK", and then proceeded to hang up on him.

obviously, this is not what we had planned when we first began down the road to fostering. we dreamed of caring for and loving hurting children, and supporting a state program that's struggling at the same time. now we have a firsthand look at why the foster care program is struggling. it's a broken system and it just characterizes the sinful and fallen world we live in. convenience and processes have become more important than the safety and welfare of children. it's sickening.

after all that has occurred, especially in the last week, ryan made the decision that it is time to close our home. as weird as it is, he has complete peace about it and so do i. he said that he was worried about the emotional toll this was taking on me and my pregnancy, as well as, what would happen if we tried to keep riding this rollercoaster once greer is home. we want to be fully available for our children, and do not honestly think we can do that along with fostering - not because of the kids though, but because of the bureaucracy involved with doing so.

i know this decision may not make complete sense to any one else, but we do think it is the right decision for our family. while i wish that we could continue to foster children by the dozens, i don't believe that is what God has in store for us at this time. we've prayed over these next steps for awhile now and i think this is where we have been led. we're not completely closed off to the idea in the future, and even told our social worker that we still want to be notified if/when R & P come back into care, but our home is closed for now and i'm at peace with that.

i sincerely appreciate all your support, encouragement, words of wisdom and kindness throughout this process. it's not an easy one, that's for sure but i definitely appreciate the care and concern y'all have given us!


Barry and Amy said...

I was pretty sure that was what was going on when you asked for prayer. I'm so sorry. It is a terribly emotional thing to know that children you love are living in a bad situation.

my life: said...

TOTALLY get it. Unfortunately, I think this happens to the "good ones". We closed for the same reason. One of our last foster babies *we brought home from the hospital* left our home at 2yr. One of the agreements was he would keep his early intervention therapists. They noted on multiple occassions that his basic needs were not only, not being met...he was being strapped to the toilet until for extended periods of time, left unattended in a tub of water, and often left with various "men". The same thing happened, they were close to closing his case...and couldn't have cared many complaints they filed.
I couldn't take it anymore. It really is NOT about keeping kids safe, it's about paper work and red tape.
SUPER glad you are peace, that's huge. I'm loving life along with you, so excited for your own babies to enter your home! :0)

Jamie said...

i know that wasn't an easy decision, but the Lord knows the need. Letting go is hard.....Praying that He continues to watch over R & P!!! And praying for continued peace for both of ya'll. Glad he put the same choice in your hearts at the same time!!

Amber said...

Hmmm...I find this really interesting (esp seeing that Amber "My Life" feels the same way)...why is it about the red tape so much? It's heart breaking to know that people called to foster leave the children because they feel the processes prevent real care from ever taking place. Is there anything being done to petition some of the 'red tape'??
I admire so much about you and Ryan so I feel very glad that you feel at peace and can rest easy with your decision. You DO have a full plate right now, and you DO need to take good care of yourself...Just keep your focus on Him and this will all work out.

Many hugs and prayers,