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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Flurry


Here's the thing with private agency-based foster care: it's feast or famine. With state foster care, though, it's always feast. The folks I know who foster through the state are inundated with calls each and every week--whether they are at capacity or not. They are begged and bribed to take "just one more" even when they are above capacity. A friend in my neighborhood literally had four children under the age of 1 year for a while, PLUS her own three bios. She was licensed for TWO. Finally, the state upped her license to three and removed one of the children. For the first time in her 20 months as a foster parent, she is within the constraints of her license.

But the calls keep coming. On Friday, she turned down two placements.

Sometimes I am tempted to envy the foster parents who get calls at all hours. In some wistful moments, the steady stream of possibilities is better than the routine of daily life punctuated with the special ring I've assigned to our social worker on my cell. A voice on the other end of the line means something new. A change of pace. A little one to keep safe. And maybe, just maybe, a baby to hold for a few days.

I've heard the special ring a lot in the last couple of days. It seems like there's been a bevvy of children who fit our "parameters" (read: potentially adoptable girls under 5 years old with no s@xualized behaviors and little if any visitation) in need of a home for a few days, months or forever.

There was the three month old who was abandoned.

The seven week old who was failure to thrive.

And now a five year-old whose adoptive family has decided to divorce.

All in two days worth of phone calls, people. Two day's worth of pre-screened, "this is what we have that fits your profile" phone calls. These calls don't even represent the myriad children who are over age 6. Kids who are a ways from termination. Who have multiple visits per week. Who are in emergency placement. Who never get put into the database that private agencies pull from. Who are ((shudder)) boys. (Please note: while we would happily take another little boy, our license says that we can only have three boys in our "boy bedroom." So, girls it is!)

The fields are ripe with children in need, but the workers are few. Please consider this my plea for action.

9 comments:

Torina said...

I wish we could take more kids, too. It is so hard to stop, even though I know we have all we can handle right now.

KH said...

MG, why did it take so long before your got your first calls? Before Oliver? And why so many more now? It seemed like you had to wait a long time to get any call initially...

Liz said...

wow. i would ove that many calls :) my agency places less than 6 per week, so there arnt many calls

amblin said...

Oh how I wish we could help right now! We're in the first stages of talking about it and learning about fostering/adopting for our family. It's exciting to think about where that might lead but it breaks my heart for the hurt the children suffer.

Amblin said...

The rest of my comment didn't post:

Fostering/adopting is such a bittersweet thing it seems to me. On the one hand, a family is created, love is found, hurts are healed or at least helped. On the other hand, the hurt that leads to the necessity of foster care must be awful for the children. And that is the hurt that breaks my herat.

birthblessed said...

Already have 3 girls in one room and 4 boys in another. I had dh attend the initial open house meeting at the agency years ago, and he decided then that we were not in a position to participate in that system at this point in our lives. We're not good at conforming to lots of rules. I'm always amazed by those who do- we have known a dozen foster families through our church and I admire them for sticking with that system, because it looks like it sucks from my POV.

mary grace said...

KH--

The short answer to why it took so long was that God was still working out his plan to bring Oliver to us. The longer (and clearly more logistical) answer is that we switched agencies. The agency we were waiting for placement with had lots of financial and staff issues that we were not made aware of. When we made the switch to our new agency, we began getting phone calls right away. Oliver was in our home about four weeks after the transition. You can read the actual timeline as it unfolded in the archives under January and February 2008.

mary grace said...

Amy/Birthblessed,
I TOTALLY understand that fostering and foster/adoption isn't for everyone. Clearly, you've got to be called to do it in the first place, otherwise it's a disaster for everyone. I find that a lot of people, though, dismiss it outright. Actually, I'm working on a post about that. Now if I can just get the words right ...

KH said...

MG ... ah, yes.. I forgot about that part of the story. Thanks for the reminder!