This is the post where I make a plea for you to do something huge that will, in all likelihood, ruin your life. But you’ll do in order to rescue others, which means you’ll be guaranteed a blinged-out mansion in heaven! (Okay, I’m not entirely sure about the mansion. It’s just a working theory…)
Steve & I didn’t realize it at first, but The Cherubs have had the most miraculous foster care experience of possibly any children in state history. They lived in one foster home – together. It was an excellent foster home that was high-structure, loving, and taught them an array of life skills. They are being adopted – together. They have experienced incredible loss. But they have each other, every day. This is rare.
Last week, as I was looking through the Children Awaiting Adoption book at church, I realized that ALL the other sibling groups Steve and I inquired about before we learned of The Cherubs have been separated. They were each in different foster homes or residential settings to begin with. But now, in each case, this separation is permanent: one child has a forever family while the other does not.
I have a hard time breathing when I think about that.
When kids come into foster care, it is almost impossible to keep siblings together. They unromantic way foster care works, especially now that so many more kids are in danger because of the opioid crisis, is based on the question, “Where is there an approved bed?” So if there’s one bed in Dorchester, and another out in Sudbury, that’s where the kids are put. They won’t stay there, probably; they’ll get bounced around (because, shockingly, kids who have lived in absolute chaos and are then pulled from their homes with no warning and placed with absolute strangers tend to exhibit some, well, signs of stress. They’re not grateful and lovely; they’re terrified.) Add to this the number of homes that won’t take tweens or teens, and you have precious few options to place these kids anywhere, let alone together. Many end up in group homes, even though they’d be fine in family settings. There just aren’t any families to take them.
(Here’s a surprising tidbit: If three or more siblings come into foster care, or two kids where of them is over the age of 8, they are automatically classified as “special needs.”)
I’m telling you, The Cherubs are BLESSED.
So I was on the phone the other day with Susan, one of the managers at Cambridge Family & Child Services, discussing possible ways Greenhouse Mission can help these older kids. We talked about practical things like clothes and paying for school field trips, and more soft-touch things like creating mentor homes where these kids can learn to be part of a family and broaden their social networks. (Imagine how small your network would be if you aged out of foster care at 18 having only lived in group homes – you’d have no uncle or kind neighbor to recommend you for a job, no cousin to stay with while you find your own place. Why do so many teens in foster care say they want to be social workers when they grow up? It’s the only job they’ve seen. But I digress…)
We talked through a bunch of ideas, and even considered an Indie Go-Go campaign to fund them…it was all very inspiring. But the #1 thing Susan kept coming back to was this:
They need foster homes.
I’ll piggy back on this and say that WE need foster homes that focus on keeping siblings together.
This is where you come in. Not to put too fine a point on it, but you can do this.
You can be single or married. Older (the Cherubs’ foster mom is in her early 70s) or younger (the age requirement is 25). It doesn’t matter if you rent or own your home. You’ll need running water, a support system of a couple of friends and family, and (my recommendation) some sort of faith in God. It can even be starter faith, like newly planted seeds. Trust me, it will grow.
This will absolutely wreck your life. I’m not even kidding. It’s the hardest thing. But it’s a Gospel thing. Have you ever looked at that footage of the waves of Syrian refuges and thought, “That’s inhuman…someone HAS to take them in…”? Right now we have waves of children needing refuge, right here in our state.
You can’t save all the kids. But you can pull a couple of them up out of the water, give them a safe warm place to be, and infinitely bless both them and their future adoptive family. That’s not a bad use of part of your life.
Go here to learn more. You could be the solution to this problem.
And remember…mansion in heaven! ;)