by Cindy J.
It was in May, 2004, that we made a phone call to the Circle of Care offices to ask how we could become a foster family. Chris and I knew that God had called us to become foster parents, but we had been ignoring that call for a while. We had our reasons for not listening – including the fact that we already had four biological children – but eventually, the call on our hearts became an intense sorrow for innocent children who are the victim of circumstances beyond their control. Then God made this truth so real to us: “On your worst day, you are their best hope.”
The Child S.H.A.R.E. people were excited to get our call, and we soon met with their coordinator to begin the process. To become Foster Parents, we had to be approved by the Department of Human Services (DHS), but Child S.H.A.R.E. was a huge help in making that happen. The Child S.H.A.R.E. coordinator helped us with the mound of paperwork involved in applying. She also spent a lot of time talking through our expectations of foster care, and explaining the realities of what we were getting into.
Four months later, after background checks and homestudies and 27 hours of training, we signed our contract with DHS, and we promptly received a call from DHS with a list of eight baby girls who needed homes. Because we have four daughters of our own, and because our girls are so young, we had told DHS we would prefer to take an infant girl as a foster child. So, the morning that DHS called, they had eight baby girls needing long-term foster care placement.
It’s been almost three years now since that day, when my daughters and I went to the Oklahoma County Juvenile Facility. We were greeted by a DHS case aid, who handed me a tiny baby. This baby was seven weeks old, but she looked undernourished, was covered in a rash, and had a lost look in her eyes. I knew nothing about this precious little girl other than she’d lived at the shelter for the last two weeks, and had been abandoned by her very young biological mother. She came with no clothes other than the hand-me-down jammies she had on, no formula, no diapers, no medical history.
By the time we got back to our house, Child S.H.A.R.E. had already kicked into action. Waiting on our front doorstep was a baby bassinette filled with diapers, clothes, bottles, and formula. Child S.H.A.R.E. had done for us what they do for every new child coming to a Child S.H.A.R.E. home – to provide a welcome basket full of age-appropriate supplies to help that foster family start integrating a new child into the family. When a policeman or DHS agent takes a child into protective custody, they are stepping into a sometimes volatile and dangerous environment, and they don’t have the time to stop and look for the child’s favorite blankie or a week’s worth of clothing. So foster children often come with nothing. Child S.H.A.R.E. tries to make each child feel loved by giving them something they can call their own.
So this precious little baby joined our household. Our biological daughters are fascinated with her. They have loved helping with all the little things involved in caring for a baby – feeding bottles, changing diapers, reading her books. One of my favorite quotes was made by Mother Teresa: “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.” I think that statement is so true of being a foster family – it is all those little things we do that can make such a great impact on a child whose biological parents can’t or won’t do those things themselves.
I think the same thing can be said of Child S.H.A.R.E. They have helped us in so many little ways that have made such a great impact on our life. Little things like providing clothing and car seats as we have needed them. Little things like helping us as foster parents get the yearly training required to keep our license current. Little things like providing a quarterly “Parents Night Out” to give us a chance to have a quiet dinner together. Little things like standing beside us (literally) as we appear before the judge in court to advocate for the best interest of our foster daughter. Small things done with great love.
There’s nothing special about our family, or about our decision to become a foster family. We made room for another bed in our house. We set another place at our table. We have another little person to hug and read to and pray for. If you’ve heard God whisper in your heart that there is a child who needs you, give the people at Child S.H.A.R.E. a call. Remember, “On your worst day, you are their best hope.”