So we are overdue for a Foster Care Training update!
So last night was our 3rd week of STARS Class (Foster Care Class), and this was probably the heaviest week of material thus far. Everyone ‘knows’ or has ‘heard’ about abuse, whether they have experienced it or not. Most everyone says it’s horrific or unbelievable, but emotionally we are rarely engaged — perhaps more sympathetic than empathetic.
So the backstory — every week we watch some videos portraying situations and scenarios with Foster Kids, their birth families and their foster families. They are pretty enlightening videos because we can conceptually ‘know’ the hardships, but seeing them portrayed on screen completely engages your mind to process and ’empathize’ with the situations. This weeks video was predominately about abuse — verbal abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse. It hit both of us hard, we ‘knew’ those awful abusive things happened to kids, often being the very reasons they are removed from their homes, but we just knew it as a concept. Seeing it portrayed was truly horrifying — to ‘experience’ the things that innocent children are subjected to is overwhelming — very emotional. It wasn’t easy, but I am thankful we had an evening on that topic, because it is prevalent. And ‘knowing’ is completely different than ‘seeing’ the realities played out before you. For me, it helped me understand the shift from sympathizing to empathizing — and I hope that we will continue to grow in that understanding.
In all of that however, it reminds us exactly why we are doing this. It’s easy to forget, or quickly & quietly slip back into the ‘fear’ or desire for comfort, but there are kids who need a safe home. Maybe they need a safe home for a season so their parents can get life back in order, or maybe they need a safe home forever. Regardless, we believe we are called to “stand in the gap” and help however we can, however God leads us. It will not always be easy, there will be good days and bad days. But God has called us to this, and He will be faithful to guide us on those awful days as well as the good days. No doubt this process will grow our faith tremendously, when we know we are completely unprepared, ill-equipped and inpatient humans!
As hard as last night was, we are still excited. This journey has been fun so far, we have met some really amazing couples in our classes at OneHeart. There are 8 couples in our class and a couple Singles, all have unique stories and all are compassionate folks. One family in particular has 6 kids they have adopted, and they are renewing their license to open their home again! It’s a blessing and encouragement to have a great class & the excellent trainers we do. We definitely have a lot to be thankful for.
Not to mention, we have had SO much encouragement from our friends and family — THANK YOU! We actually are going to be blessed with some bunk beds from Mama & Papa Madden (Clara’s Mom & Dad), even better they are bunk beds that convert to twin beds, so we can do either if needed. That alone is a HUGE load off. We still need to do some prepping for the bedroom we are converting. Clara has some really neat plans to make it very homey and welcoming, so when kids come into our care and are struggling through a lot, at least they have a safe, comfy and cozy room to make their own.
We do still need to work on a few things — the baby gate for the basement stairs, fire extinguisher, replace the cracked shower in the bathroom with a new tub, get some ‘kid’ stuff to decorate the room with, and I am sure there are other things Clara can remind me of 🙂 but regardless, it’s all fun to tackle!
Thanks for your prayer, encouragement and asking questions!