i'm calling this segment 'marge in charge' because you always get my opinion, but now you've actually ASKED for it. what were you thinking? this is a big deal. here's the topic for today (thanks alena): what i think of fostering older kiddos.
gird your loins, people.
i can only talk about my own experience. sure, everybody knows somebody whose cousin's sister's neighbor fostered or adopted a child who was older who tried to kill them with a knife or run away or talked to themselves in third person. (i jest...sarcastic tone is rarely evident in blogging. sad day.)
as a case manager i dealt with older foster kids all the time. i've seen ones who dealt with it all pretty well and others who seemed truly incapable of healthy relationships and coping strategies.
z-diddy is the oldest kiddo to come to us straight from chaos. he spent 18 months in his bio home and 4 in a shelter. so at 22 months we received a child who was totally overwhelmed (so was i so we helped each other out with that one), unable to self-soothe, had difficulty learning cause and effect in any form, and attached to anyone including strangers like the orkin man who came to our house to spray for bugs. imagine if he had stayed in his previous situation longer.
he is the most difficult child i've ever parented and was definitely one of the most difficult kids i've ever worked with...and i've worked with A LOT of difficult kids. but he is pretty darn cute. i love him so much. and i wouldn't trade a hard day with him for anything. he and i are both right where we are supposed to be.
the truth of the matter is: whether you have a biological child or adopt or foster a child, you never know what you're getting. your parents didn't. --so don't take any flack from them. ;) anything could happen. there are no "sure things." each and every child deserves a family. we shouldn't exempt older kids from that right because they have more behavior issues or aren't as cuddly. i get that people want a little person who they can hold and snuggle with and love. but there are kids out there who have no chance unless someone comes along and guides them. you might be their only chance. you might be the only person who believes in them. you might be exactly God's plan for their lives. what an opportunity. what a ministry.
from my experience, people believe a lot of crazy stuff. and what's even crazier, they say it out loud for others to hear. i know that my husband and i speaking up for our kids and others like them has definitely raised awareness in our family and friends. so if you're called to adopt or foster an older kid, go for it and know you have my support...whatever that's worth. i make up great jingles and can probably put together some sort of cheer for you when needed. i give you mad props. you're going to have challenges like any other parent. and with God, you can absolutely do this.
so fostering and adopting older children definitely has risks like any other major decision in your life but i'm pretty sure these children are worth it. family might be against it, professionals might caution you, ignorant neighbors and coworkers might 'tsk tsk' and say you don't know what you're getting yourself into but God rescued us from much worse.
"open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate. open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy." prov 31:8-9
let's be counter-cultural, shall we?