5 Awesome Ways to Help Kids in Foster Care, by Heather Lei

Currently, there are over 400,000 kids in the foster care system in the United States. Children and youth enter into the system because they, or their families are in crisis. Often, they have been removed from their parents because they are unsafe, abused, or neglected. These kids are displaced from their homes—and sometimes—even their schools and/or towns. They are often moved from home to home, and live in a state of instability.

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Faithfulness, Foster Care, and Trusting God with the Rest, by Jason Johnson

I travel often for work. Enough that the whole experience is a fairly routine one for me. Airports, car rentals, hotel rooms, even long security lines and flight delays — I’m fairly numb to it all now. It’s just a means to the end of getting where I need to go. However, a recent trip to Chicago was anything but routine. My oldest daughter came along with me and it changed the entire dynamic.

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Voices from Foster Care: Imagine, by Tina Kulp

Imagine being scared everyday of your life as you wonder which one of the kids would get a beating. Would it be me this time? Would I have to hide in my room while dad beats up mom, as I worry whether she would live through this one? Did I clean the house well enough? Was dinner good? Are the kids behaving or would I have to take a beating for one of them? Will mom and/or dad even make it home from the bar tonight?

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Difficult to Place: changing the language of foster care

Difficult to place.

These are the three words that social workers used to describe me while in the care of the United Kingdom’s foster care system. In other words, these three little words equaled one giant judgement about my worth. The social worker assigned to my case believed that finding a family for a child like me would be, yes, difficult.

I was seen as “illegitimate” and “ethnic” within the system. My foster papers described me as the “extra-marital daughter” of a woman who indulged in an affair with a “dark man.” Adding, “The child is dark, like her father.”

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Foster Care and Adoption: It’s Not Safe, by Stacey Gagnon

ToyTruck“It’s not safe”. I think that is what I would tell you if you were looking to foster or adopt. I’m not sure that this would be a good slogan for an adoption agency, but after walking this path, I’d think a warning is in order.

I would want to tell you that if you choose this path, you will never be the same. You will no longer look at the orphan crisis as a statistic, you will suddenly look at it as a thumb sucking, 1 year old in a diaper and onesie plopped into your lap at 11 pm at night. Eyes wide and filled with fear, you and this tiny ‘orphan crisis’ will face this storm together. Suddenly, it all takes on a name and a dirt-smudged face.

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Adoption Is My Nationality

May is National Foster Care Month. As a former foster child, as well as an international adoptee, I’m often asked about my nationality. In other words, people are curious as to where I originated, what my heritage is and to whom I once belonged.

Believe me, I have been — in my lifetime — ultra curious about these things, as well. In fact, the journey of discovery has taken me along paths to unknown destinations, and to unknown parts of myself.

The experience of seeking out adoption truth is like putting together a puzzle with vital pieces missing. Empty holes. Empty spaces. Those hollow places in the heart; caverns created by loss.

How much are we willing to sacrifice in an effort to put back the pieces of a shattered-self? What are we willing to risk? How can we revive the dormant parts of who we once were, as adoptees, prior to being removed from our first lives?

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Adoption Mommy Wars, by Mary Memmott

ChildinSunlightLast year, a couple of weeks before Christmas while my husband and I were out shopping, he turned to me and said, “Why don’t we just adopt a child from Syria?” His statement was due—in large part—to the current and ongoing refugee crisis and a result of reading and viewing horrific news almost daily about families forced to flee their homelands for safety. My husband obviously knows that there’s no such thing as “just” adopting, but he was expressing his solution to a need.

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Becoming A Better Adoptive Mother Through Intentional Parenting, by Stacy Manning

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 2.10.21 PMWhen we adopted our three daughters, sixteen years ago, I was confident in my parenting ability. People often complimented me on my three boys and on my parenting. In fact, I used to say that when I die, they could put “She was a good mom” on my headstone.

Not long after my girls came home, that all changed. I no longer felt like a good mom. In fact, there were times I questioned if I was even the right mom for the job. I could hear the message on my headstone being ground off because it was no longer true. What I was doing, how I was parenting, was not working with my girls. They had come to me with grief. Loss. Impacts of trauma. The tools in my toolbox were clearly not the right tools. But back then, there was little research to know what the right tools were. There was very little support, no one to ask. I was on my own.

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Love, Like They’re Your Own: a response to the foster father who cares for the terminally ill

MMB_Blog_53_father and childHe wants them to know that they are not alone in this life. And, so a man named Mohamed Bzeek takes them in. He opens his arms to terminally ill children who are part of LA County’s foster care system. Bzeek knows that the children are going to die, but he brings them into his home, anyway, and loves them like they’re his own.

I read about Mohamed Bzeek in a recent article within the Los Angeles Times. Reporter Hailey Branson-Potts shares the story with compassion and dignity. The fact that Bzeek, a Libyan-born Muslim, takes these children in when no one else will is pure example of living love out loud. This, in itself, is enough for me to write a response to. Only, it is how Bzeek values these children that is the focus of my thoughts.

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Fostering: A Calling from God, by Laurie Tomascik

shoesI’ve been thinking a lot about our story, and all the other stories that need to be told. As foster and adoptive families, we often walk a lonely, isolated path. It’s been almost a year since the adoption of our son was finalized. He was our first placement and had been with us for three and a half years.

We had only been licensed for a couple of months when the call came. With the help of our three bio children—a son and two daughters—we prepared the extra bedroom in a gender neutral fashion. Our kids had picked the paint color, a shade of orange that I definitely was not in love with, but it had a hidden meaning that would show itself later.

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