This means I had my children plus three more. This gave me 6 children ages 6 and under to care for, but I am happy to announce we survived.
*My two biggest helpers goofing off!*
It also gave me perspective, as in 7 kids are easy to care for in comparison to 10! It literally took both me and Devin to keep track of everyone. These kids were very bright and well behaved. I credit this to their foster parents who seem to be doing a great job. Here are some challenges we discovered with foster children.
1. These kids were hyper focused on food! Because they were basically starved by their biological parents, food is something they like to always have around. If ANYONE in the house had a food or drink item, then these kids felt they had to have it also. We went through a few dozen bananas keeping little hands filled with something portable to eat! This was something I have read about in many fotser/adoption books but had never seen it first hand.
2. Sharing was difficult and there was a good amount of sibling rivalry. I am again not used to this behavior. Sure my kids have moments when they don't want to share, but not consistently. I do not know if this behavior is a result of a hard childhood or daycare. Maybe both? At any rate, we had to remove some toys completely if the children fought and refused to take turns. It seemed to help.
3. These kids liked to yell to get their point across or to just fuss at us. They had to reminded on many occasions that ugly talk and yelling was against the rules of the house.
By Sunday evening we were all exhausted! This weekend required all of the energy from every single member of the family! We were happy we did it but it did bring to my attention how disruptive fostering is to your entire household. I really hold foster parents in high esteem. They sacrifice much for the care of these children.
This experience also brings to mind the idea of being pro life.
Here are some statistics from 2010:
Number of children in foster care: 254,375
Average age: 9.5
Avg length in system: 25 months
Waiting for adoption: 107,011
(with avg time in system of 37.3 months)
48% of foster children reside with non-relative foster caretakers
Average number of abortions per year in the US: 1.3 million
Now I like to think of myself as pro-life. I believe life begins at conception. I do not like abortions, they kill living babies. I know many, many people preach the pro-life stance.
Consider this. Doesn't pro-life go beyond saving an unborn child? You can rejoice all day that a young, un-wed mother decided to not abort and to instead keep her baby. Pat yourself on the back too, if you wish. Consider it a noble thing done.
But WHO will be there 3 or even 10 years later when that same mother can't care for her child. When that child goes into the foster system. Who's pro-life then?
Where are all of the Chrsitian Pro Lifers who demand abortions stop? What if they did stop? Will these churches and these pro-life fanatics care for an extra 1.3 million children when there are so many in need of care now? 107,011 kids are WAITING to be adopted!
I am not suggesting that abortion is right, I am merely suggesting that the term pro-life shouldn't be tossed around so lightly. Foster families around the nation know what is means to be pro-life.
After this weekend I too know what it means to be pro-life. To really be pro-life.
It's exhausting. It's disruptive. It's challenging. It's wonderful.
Some lessons are truly learned through experience.
To those who really are pro-life, I think you are a hero.