NaBloPoMo 2010 Day 15 — Thoughts from a recent meeting
We went to a meeting at our church on Sunday afternoon. Some friends of ours have taken the steps to be approved as foster parents and are doing so through a private agency called Faithbridge Foster Care. Faithbridge works with the state and county agencies who have the placement needs. When their foster families are not available, they call private agencies, like Faithbridge, to see if they can fill the gap with one of their Faithbridge families. Faithbridge’s model centers around establishing relationships with churches. The goal is not only to find willing families in the churches but also for the members of those churches to help serve as support for their member families who decide to foster.
Faithbridge has the statistics, but if the Church stepped up, there would be no need for the state agencies who place foster children because there would be none without a family to take them in. The meeting that we attended was an introductory meeting into what it means to be a foster family or a respite care family and how Faithbridge operates. It was also a time for people to ask questions and hopefully, for the Faithbridge representative to dispel some myths about fostering.
When we jumped into the world of adoption, we went to a similar meeting where we heard an adoption consultant dispel many of the movie-of-the-week myths about the adoption process. That was a good exercise for us. (And the reality for us has been nothing like those myths that continue to circulate about adoption.)
But I digress.
I have two psychology degrees, so in meetings like this, I cannot stop myself from monitoring the comments of others (and a little commentary in my head about what is being said or asked). This meeting was no different.
The first question that got me thinking was “how can Faithbridge do this with the whole separation of church and state?” My first thought was that there’s a need that has to be met, and if there is another group that will help with some of the heavy lifting, the county is not going to mind that a faith-based group is helping out. Second, the state isn’t as interested as many think it is in the spiritual lives of the rest of us. Third, this is the Bible belt. There is a lot more openness to faith-based initiatives here than in other parts of the country, I am sure. But I would still think that similar agencies in whatever other “liberal” state would accept the help of a group like Faithbridge even there. Finally, if someone thinks that fostering through Faithbridge is a way to force religion on a child, then perhaps, they are missing the point of serving as a foster parent (and I am not saying that I think the questioner is of that mindset, but I can see something similar running through the minds of those who want to “rescue” these children from their situations.)
The other question that sticks out for me was asked in the context of bringing in a foster child who was older than your own child or children — a teenager perhaps. The questions was “how do you know that there won’t be any sexual issues that your own children will be exposed to?” My immediate thought was “you can’t.” Thankfully, that was the ultimate response from the Faithbridge rep as well. It reminded me of our adoption situation. We couldn’t really “know” anything about the background of Kee’s birth parents. The limited info we have is based on self-report for the most part. We trust that what we know is true. But we cannot know. We made the conscious decision — even before we launched into the adoption process — to trust that the Lord would walk alongside us regardless of how things turned out with Kee. We reiterated that statement of faith after K-Man was ours.
I think we would have to walk into a foster family situation the same way. We would certainly try to determine as much as we could about the child’s background, but we would have to remain vigilant and pray that the Lord would protect our family and heal whatever scars and pain exist for the child we brought into our home.
We haven’t decided how or if fostering is a part of our future. But we wanted to know more about the process if for no other reason than to help our friends who are working with Faithbridge. We’ll see what the Lord has in store for us though.