I found it hiding under a chair a few days after he was gone, evidence of D’s developmental stage which includes baby socks scattered about like autumn leaves. That little sock stung, and I found myself clutching it to my nose with tears running down my face as I smelled the sweet aroma of the little one I loved and would never see again.
D’s case from back in 2014 haunts us still. He was our first foster placement and we had brought him home from the hospital a few days after his birth. He was moved from our care against everyone’s better judgement - social workers, magistrates, court advocate - no one thought he should move to the family members who wanted him. No one thought they were safe and healthy. But they ran out of legal options to object. The system is broken, they say.
Here’s the thing.
The laws that protect rights of birth parents and families, laws that make life as a foster family so difficult, must be there. It SHOULD be very difficult for the courts to legally sever a child’s relationship to family. Children SHOULD be with extended family if for some reason their parents are not safe. We don’t want to live in a country where this process is easy.
In addition, “the system” is broken and frustrating because God never intended for children to be cared for by the government. Politics and money are a bad combination. Add in a very real spiritual war over the lives of people caught in cycles of abuse and addiction and the innocent children trapped in the mix, and it’s a complex and heartbreaking scenario. There is no easy fix.
I think it could be better. I would love to see laws that would consider foster families “kin” to children who have continuously been in their care for 6-12 months. This would both spur child welfare workers to locate any suitable family placements sooner rather than later, and would give the children in care stability and permanency in a family more quickly. It would also be a gift to foster families who literally have no legal rights - none - to do anything to fight for the children they know better than anyone else does.
Is that a foolproof solution? Likely not. It would have been beneficial in our cases, but there very well may be compelling legal reasons that ought not be so.
“The system” is complicated. And it’s broken because our world is broken.
God is good. Following Him is worth it. I’m glad the sting that lingers in our hearts compels us to pray for D- he doesn’t need us to redeem his life, he needs Jesus. And Jesus isn’t bound to any system.
[It’s #fostercareawarenessmonth. After seven years of fostering, we didn’t get an exit interview from the county- so I’ll give it to you all instead. 😁]