Our first foster arrived a few years ago on a Friday afternoon.
Our license wasn’t even active yet and I was completely unsure of what to expect, ask and feel. We were re-fngerprinted at our kitchen table by a case worker we had never met so we could take baby girl as a non-relative placement. During this time, our precious girl and her sister sat in a running car in our driveway, supervised by a transporter-for almost an hour.
Screwy, stressful start.
We are almost two dozen kids into this wreckage and I still find myself frustrated, annoyed and disappointed in a system, people and processes.
But I’m invested in this injustice. I’m in over my head and drowning in the desperate lives of this community we call home. You feel it too. We can be paralyzed by the pain pulsing through our powerlesness, becoming bitter and jaded…or we can press on, continue the fight and endure.
It’s a choice, sometimes an agonizing one. But nevertheless, one I’ll keep choosing.
I will keep saying yes even when things don’t go the way I planned.
Even when case workers don’t do what I ask or keep their word.
Even when the referrals take days, then weeks, to even be entertained.
Even when family care counselors surprise me sans makeup, braless in my pajamas, holding a naked toddler and a cold cup of coffee. Yes, even then.
Even when every seven days for an over-cap visit almost drives me to drink.
Even when my babies’ naps are interrupted because visitation can’t occur at any. other. time. Lame.
Even when I’m not invited to staffings or made aware of critical deadlines and I’m treated like the hired help instead of the sole provider for this kid’s entire everything. Don’t mind me, I’m just the foster mom.
I’ll keep saying yes when no one really seems to think my opinion matters.
Even when I feel unheard, invisible and insignificant, I won’t stop.
When the system sucks and attempts to steal every hint of hope I had in humanity and the weight of wondering what will happen to these little lives and their mamas and daddies is crushing, I will say yes.
Even if no one sees these scars of sacrifice and the trail of tears I’m saturating this sinking sand with.
Even when the glares of judgement about my biracial, black, and hispanic babies are relentless. I’ll keep saying yes to the public scrutiny of having too many kids. I’ll keep going even when I feel less than or not enough.
Even when I have to sit for two hours at the WIC office for cheese and milk and bread I could care less about. I will say yes again and again to immunizations at the health department because Medicaid doesn’t cover those at my primary pediatrician. I will make trip after trip to After Hours because the liability of letting a little one that isn’t legally mine stay sick because I didn’t act in time is always at the back of my brain.
Even when licensing loses my paperwork and people are rude. When my eyes are stuck from all the rolling they do and I get a new case manager that has less life experience than my ten-year-old, even then.
Even when the GAL knows nothing about the case and I have to explain all the details and catch her up. She hasn’t even seen the kids in person but she has paperwork to hand in.
Even when transporters don’t know how to install carseats and I have to unstrap, fix and properly place the seat when I’m already running late. #professionalcarseatinstallerhere
Even when others don’t show up and the rest of the world isn’t enough. Even when my family and neighbors and church ask me if we are done with this stuff because don’t we have enough? EVEN THEN!
The interruptions, annoyances and absurdity of the broken welfare system can break us or inspire us to push through the poppycock that prevents so many from continuing their pursuit.
If we let little offenses build walls around our breaking hearts, who will change things?
We can’t quit. We can’t give up. We can’t say no.
The enemy says it’s stupid to have to lock up your laundry detergent and give an infant “allowance”. And so do I, because really.
But Jesus says to fix our eyes.
We are willing to jump through every hoop, sign every sheet, and check every box because that’s how we hold little hearts and are used by him to break every chain.
Even when kids return to the darkness we have fought so hard to keep them from, even then, especially then, we keep saying YES.
This fight is far from over. The war is won but the battle rages and people need you. Lives are lost when you let the other side have the final word.
Be victorious mama, not a victim.
There is so much work left to do. And so much heartache to heal. And to that, even when, we keep saying yes.