Entering the World of Foster Parenting

Foster Care

Today’s blog post won’t be your typical “what I’m up to”, “what I’m working on” or “what wedding or video I’m producing, editing, etc.”  Today’s post is about real and raw emotions.  It’s about excitement, laughter, fear, venturing into the unknown, and praying that we can change the little lives that have been put into our hands.

Larissa and I are now licensed foster parents through the state of Florida.  We’re excited, yet extrememly nervous as we venture into a world that is unknown to us and one that we have no experience at all in – yet, that is why we also attended several months of mandatory training.  We ventured into this feeling strongly convicted of having the means, the ability, and the love, heart, and patience to care for kids in desperate need of love and attention.  We both felt convicted of “looking the other way.”

We have now been foster parents for a little over a week and I can tell you it’s been one of the most rewarding and yet challenging times in our lives. We have come along side two beautiful children (they were placed with us) who are in desperate need of love and attention and I could see from the get-go that they have been severely neglected as well.  We have enjoyed baking with them, watching movies and popcorn together, playing outside, and working with them on their homework.  I also truly believe that this is the first time that they’ve actually had real structure in their lives – real expectations from an adult – real love from a male and female role model – and yes, I am man enough to say that as a grown man, I’ve been in tears several times this week watching these two, knowing what they’ve been through, and now seeing first hand how broke the system truly is.

We’ve had a challenging week getting used to each other, getting used to trusting each other, and for them, getting used to an authority figure in their lives.  These two angels have had such chaos in their lives, and that’s the only world that they have ever known.  And that’s all they know … period.  Going to bed at night with things quiet … things that we are use to … that doesn’t work for them.  We’ve had to learn that.  Being told that “we’re idiots …. we’re stupid …. I hate you …. you guys are the worst ….” – these are things that we’ve had to hear, and yet, let it roll of of our shoulders b/c a little bit later, you’re their best friend again and why ….. b/c we’re all that they’ve got right now.  All we can do at this point is show them unconditional love and be there for them in everything that they need.

It’s literally turned our world upside down, but we are slowly coping and adjusting to everything going on.  Both have issues that I won’t go into here – one far more than the other – but again, this stems from the environment that they’ve been raised in and how they were molded when they were younger.  Statistically, your personality and everything about you is shaped by the time you turn 4 years old.  Imagine seeing physical abuse, sexual abuse, or even being on the receiving end at such a young age.  Imagine being completely neglected to the point where you’re on your own to find food, bath yourself, and get through the day alone.  These are scars that you now carry, emotions that now wreck havoc within you, and the trust that you were supposed to have with adults has now been completely shattered.  These are the type of children that are in the foster system.  They need love.  They need attention.  They need someone to come alongside them and show them that.

I won’t say more other than I ask that you continue to be in prayer for us during this time.  I feel like we’ve made great progress and the trust is there and they’ve both called me “silly” and “funny” already — so you know I’m showing them love right?  Lol.  I’ll throw out an update from time to time – but do keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

— James