children sitting

When I say “They”, I really mean two separate groups of people. I’ll leave you to ponder who I mean in the mean time.   However, in follow up to yesterday’s post, Why Not Us Memphis, I thought I would offer a practical case for action.  I once had the opportunity to help a blood bank marketing guy put together a blood drive.  Myself and the team with which I was working thought it to be a fairly simple task.  The actual blood bank professional seemed a little more hesitant.  So after 6 weeks of planning, our campaign was over.  Drumroll! We had raised 4 units of blood.  One of which was mine.

Fascinating Reality

After the mediocre blood bonanza we had created for him, I could not help but wonder how he does it.  I mean this guy is in the business of raising blood.  It’s not a precious mineral that you must mine from the center of the earth, nor travel to a distant planet to get.  No, it’s literally everywhere, all around him.  And yet, its incredibly difficult to get.

Personally If I were him, knowing the solution is all around me, I might just lose my mind and start going all Dracula on people and take it against their will.  Not an actual suggestion for any blood bank marketers reading my blog.  However, this good man is pursing a great public service for which volunteers are often low and yet he has to get up, go out in public, and watch upright blood pumping people walk among him everyday knowing they have exactly what he needs.  Fascinating.

Families here, Families there, Families Everywhere

So this brings us to the topic at hand, namely a call to Foster Care and Adoption.  Much like with blood, the answer to the foster care and adoption need in America walks among us everyday. Specifically, just loving caring families.  In my field of work, I have some pretty substantial insight into the needs of America’s foster children.  I see their plight, see their tears, and see the outcome when no one steps up to the plate to be a family to these youth.

In addition, I see what works.  Honestly, and truthfully, what works more than anything is just a family willing to be committed and stick it out. If we can start there, 90% of the battle is won.  So like the blood bank marketing manager, every time I go to a restaurant and see a family eating dinner together, or I go to church and see a family praying together, I am literally looking at the solution dancing before my very eyes.

Its heartbreaking to some degree as I know the heartache of abandonment that many children are feeling this very moment as I watch this child smile when his Dad decides to buy him some ice cream.  Simple things like that can bring restoration to a foster child’s soul.  Its not that the child earned that Ice Cream, its just that this dad simply desired to give his kid unmerited and unwarranted joy.  Why, because why not, that why. You all know families like this and If I challenged you to share this post on social media and tag a potential foster parent, it would only take you about 2 seconds to think of that name.  Why, because they walk among us, the answer to a child in need.

You Probably Know One

The other group that walks among us, or maybe crawls among us, or perhaps just learning to sit up, are the children in need themselves.  You probably know one, you just don’t realize it.  Going to a High School Football game this Friday?  Playing on the field, sitting in the stands, or just wishing they could go to the game, is a teenage foster child, I almost guarantee you.  Look around this Friday and think about that.

Going to the hospital to visit your friend or family’s cute newborn?  Laying in the infant room, or perhaps in the NICU, is a newborn about to be brought into state’s custody, I almost guarantee you.  Perhaps born addicted to drugs or even diagnosed with a terminal illness, but if you have been to a hospital, you have seen a child to whom you could be their only family, I almost guarantee you.   If your child goes to school, they go to school with a foster child.  If your child is starting college, somewhere in that Freshman class is a kid branching out on their own.  Literally, on their own, with no back up plan, because no one adopted them prior to turning 18.  They “aged out.” Regardless of the scenario, you know or have seen a child without a family, for I guarantee you, they walk among us.

A Call to Action

The foster care and adoption need are intrinsically tied to one another.  You can’t separate one from the other.  But in every county, in every school, there they are, walking among us.   I can’t help but envision a world where the child in need and the potential forever family pass each other on the street having no idea that they could have been meant for one another.  For neither of them realized the other walked among us every day.  The family assumes every child has a family, and the child unfortunately assumes they  are just not meant to have a family.  What a tragedy.

What a strange world it is where the solution and the needy intermingle so regularly without any idea of the unprecedented future they could offer one another.  So I just want to make this call and plea for anyone reading whom have even considered foster care and adoption, just look around you.  You might be sitting next to family.  In fact, I am going to go ahead and challenge you to share this post with someone you think would make an excellent foster parent.  Tag them in the post and engage them in the conversation.  You can be subtle or obvious, but have no shame for considering children age out of foster care very day, the time for subtlety may well be over.  After all, you might just walk by their future child today and not even know it.


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18 Replies to “They Walk Among Us, A Case for Foster Care and Adoption”

    1. Thanks Amanda. I figure if people are going to read this blog, I might as well add some of the issues that matter most!

  1. As a former Foster Child (17 years until I aged out) and former Foster Care/adoption worker (16 years). I thank you for such a heartfelt article about such. Heart-rending need!

  2. Thank you Lila for your comment and thank you for sharing your personal experience. I have no doubt that the youth you worked with benefited from your personal experience. That is inspiring in of itself!

  3. As a foster parent who is currently spending our life savings fighting Memphis DCS because there some people who work there that would rather see children die than be in loving, middle-class, two parent families who DO NOT look like them…I can say that the need is there, but the battle is fierce.

    There are children in need of safety and biological families in need of love, but the machine of DCS will run them both over to push their agenda. The battle to love and protect is worth the fight. Just make sure that you go into battle prepared. These kids deserve people who will fight for justice on their behalf.

  4. Loved this like crazy. As someone who has adopted this is near as dear to my heart. As a Canadian, trying to adopt out of the US for the first time, I find it incredibly frustrating. The business end of adoption is what turns most people away. The cost is number one. And dealing with social workers/biological families is a hard 2nd. To adopt internationally across our US and Canadian border costs as much as adopting from Russia or China- upwards of $30,000-40,000+.
    These children need families. Why make it so financially impossible? Someone is dreaming and hoping to be matched to these children, and the children deserve to have these families.

  5. As a foster /adoptive family. We have had lots of children come through our home some we are still in contact with and 3 we adopted last year and looking to adopt again soon. Being a foster parent has been very rewarding with the kiddos. But like most foster parents we get very frustrated with DFS. We will continue to be foster parents until we can no longer do so we love being parents to very amazing children. That all they want is a Mom,Dad,Aunts,Uncles,Cousins and Grandparents to call their own. I wish more people would adopt through the state then go through private agencies.

  6. This is a great article, however, we too are foster parents who like Memphis above have spent a fortune fighting Los Angeles County DCFS. Even though we are in different parts of the country the scenario is the same. I know of many foster/adoptive parents who have just given up because this system is broke. It breaks our hearts knowing that there are so many innocent children in need. I have even contacted different counties and they all say that they have a huge need for foster / adopt parents however you must live in their county.

  7. I am in tears. I feel like you wrote what I am thinking. I am a foster mommy and agree! The solution is right in front of me. Families eating dinner at the tables next to me. They can fix this with me.

  8. Thanks all you foster parents for commenting. You embody the solution yourselves and we all owe you a debt of gratitude. Continue to spread this word as you are the best recruitiers for foster parents as you each offer a testimony of success. Thanks for all you do.

  9. Thanks for this great piece! If you are ever in the North San Diego County area please drop into Straight From The Heart and visit. We are a non-profit resource center for foster, adoptive, kinship children and their caregivers. It takes a great deal of support to be a foster parent. There is nothing in my life that has brought me more joy than the children who have been placed in our home. The system is broken, but the children need families. Thanks for putting into words the thoughts and feelings of many foster parents.

  10. Amazing blog! Thank you, you are right on! I’m a foster mom, adopted 3 fabulous children from foster care, currently fostering and waiting to see how it goes. I love fostering! And yes the answer is right there but they’re scared to take the leap of faith!

  11. We are adoptive parents of two children, whom we adopted privately. We tried several times several years ago to be considered for large families of children through DCFS but they would not consider us because we had never been parents. It didn’t matter to them that we were very involved in youth organizations or that I had helped to raise my three younger brothers. They assumed that we had no skills to parent children and pretty much shut to door on our desire to help. It is still frustrating to me that there really are families willing to help but they aren’t being considered.

  12. Thanks again for all those sharing their experiences. I know the system can definitely present with challenges. To me, thats why its such a call to action. We have to overwhelm the system with caring loving families to increase every chance at saving a child. If you are that type of family, then just getting involved raises the chances that a child will land in a home like yours as oppose to one not best suited for them.

  13. THANK YOU for this article. Amazingly written. My husband and I were foster parents for several years and in the end, we adopted a sibling group of 3 who had been exposed to Meth. The youngest at the time was 2 weeks old and fetally addicted. Each has their own issues which we deal with When it came down to adoption, they were going to be ‘parted out’, meaning each was going to a different home (one would have moved to a different state). My husband and I had a very clear, spiritual experience where we KNEW God wanted them together. We took a giant leap of faith bc we had no idea how it would work. BUT, it was the right thing to do. They have each other as a support system of empathy and understanding when ours just isn’t quite enough. Some days are really, REALLY difficult. BUT! Having them become part of our family has been more of a blessing to us than it has ever been to them. We aren’t changing their lives. They’re changing ours. Thank you again for this article. PERFECTLY WRITTEN.

  14. When we signed up for foster care, I thought, “no way will we be one of those families who quits early just because it’s hard.” And we didn’t quit because it was hard – we quit (and were sorta fired) because we were the only ones standing in the gap for our foster kids. DHS lied to us for months. The kids were taken in April, and my heart is BROKEN. The system is BROKEN.

    But I still think that foster/adoption must be our calling as a family, because it’s all I think about. My strong desire for a larger family just won’t go away, so I’m constantly looking for “my future family members” all around us. Or as I like to say, waiting for the Lord to drop a baby in my lap. Seriously, if I were visiting a child in a hospital and found out there was a sick child that needed family, I probably wouldn’t leave. Bless all the lonely kiddos at LeBonheur!!

    Thanks for the passionate post! I can totally see where your heart is. Wish everyone who reads this would take up the cause of the orphan, the least of these. Matthew 25:40

  15. Thanks for the comment Jenni, I trust that God’s knows who your future family members are even if he has not told you yet. Your heart is where God wants it and that without a doubt is pleasing to God.

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