Making Idols of Our Ideals
It’s 3PM on a Thursday afternoon. My cell phone vibrates on my desk. I am busy, but I answer it. There is a one year old boy who needs a home. His birthday is in October. He is currently in a single-parent foster home that complains ‘it’s just not working’ because he wakes up multiple times a night. The foster mom also has an infant. She needs sleep. The boy will likely be reunited with his family in a few months. Will we take him?
Earlier that day â€“ phone vibrates. There is a little girl. She’s 15 months old. She is in the hospital with abdominal injuries. Her brother has already been placed in a foster home. Will we take her?
A sibling group needs a home. They are 3 and 4 years old. A boy and a girl.
There’s a little boy in a shelter, broken leg. A new born baby girl addicted to meth. A two year old boy with developmental issues. Can we take him? Should we take her? Will we take him?
The ‘ideal placement’
My wife and I are trying to grow our family through the foster system. We want to adopt, but we also want to be a home for children in crisis. Our first placement (‘B’) was with us for 4 months until he was placed with extended family. We would have loved to have been able to adopt him. Losing B hurt, but we were okay with it. We addressed the risks before we began this path and agreed upon what we thought we could handle as a family.
It’s been a couple of months since we waved good-bye to B and we’re back on the availability list. In those 2 months, we talked a lot about what we wanted our family to look like. Wouldn’t it be great for Jaimes to have a little sister? We have this picture in our mind of a little black girl. We’re very enamored with the idea of having a transracial family. It’s been three weeks since we’ve been on the availability list. We’ve gotten a handful of calls. None of them fit our ideal. Some questions bubble to the surface:
- Am I willing to sacrifice the ideal I’m envisioning?
- Is it appropriate to dream about an ‘ideal placement?’
- What are my expectations and how realistic are they? Are they fair?
- If I let it this ideal go, what will I replace it with?
And the discussion ensues. We talk a good game about providing a home for kids in crisis, but it’s really hard when they leave. So when we get calls like those listed above â€“ for children that either don’t fit our adoptive dream or sound like the child will be reunited with family â€“ it’s difficult to say yes to those kids. It’s also really, really hard to say no.
There is not one answer for everyone here. There isn’t even one answer for me! I’m continually asking my self questions like this. The answers change as does the state of my heart and that’s okay. It’s good to sweat occasionally under the hot lights of self examination. If you find yourself struggling with discerning your own desires, try an honest gut-check by asking and praying through a couple of the questions listed above.