I was invited to contribute a devotion to Lemonade International’s Advent series this week, and the editor asked me to especially to speak from my experience as a foster parent. I hope this encourages you. ~ Christy
It was raining as my son and I made our way from the parking lot to the movie theater on Friday to see the new Star Wars movie. His Luke Skywalker costume—an oversized karate jacket from a thrift store and a lightsaber tucked into his Cub Scouts belt—attracted smiles and winks, and I got more than a few “thumbs ups” from people who appreciated the sight. After waiting for an hour in line, we filed into the theater, all anticipation and wonder as we tried on our 3D glasses, ate our massive bucket of popcorn, and laughed at the fun we were having.
No one looking at us would have guessed that my son has been my son for less than two years.
As we waited for the movie to start, I couldn’t help but remember what life was like those first few months after a social worker dropped him and his baby sister off at our house. As new foster parents, my husband and I had no parenting experience and minimal training, so on day six of their placement with us, when the “honeymoon period” ended, we were not prepared for what followed: violent outbursts, fits of rage, running away from school, hiding, and non-stop talking. It was mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting, and it took a toll on everyone in the house.
After one particularly difficult afternoon, my nerves frayed and my faith on edge, I phoned a friend of mine who has worked as a CPS social worker for many years. She gave me what has become some of the best advice I have ever received. “If you can make it past four months, you’ll begin to see a turn. Just stay. Stay with him.”
Just stay. Stay with him.