When Foster Care Means Saying “No”

I’ve tried to write this post several times and it’s just really hard to put my heart down on paper.  It doesn’t sound right.  It’s less raw than I feel, which takes away from the truth of it all.  I can’t give all the info, which also changes the story. I write about this because I want to always be an encouragement to anyone who may consider opening their heart and home to kids who don’t know how it feels to be in a stable, loving family.  I also want to give the whole picture.  It’s heart-breaking, and raw and real…so I’ll do my best.

This week has been incredibly emotional.  We were presented with a possible placement in addition to Smiley, so we got excited, sold the queen bed, bought a bunk bed, and started imagining life as a family of six.  We visited a few times with the young lady and I started falling in love.  As time went by, some red flags went up and by yesterday, we were making calls to tell the social workers that we couldn’t take this girl.

It’s one thing to see behaviors on paper and easily say, “no”, but it is a completely different thing to have a hopeful face staring at you when you close your eyes, and know that the answer has to be no.  The children who are already in my care have to be protected.  Not from all hurt or heartbreak, but definitely from irreparable damage.

But this girl is not hopeless!  While it isn’t my responsibility to make sure she is taken care of, it is the deep desire in my heart to make sure she is taken care of.  As my wise husband and wise father reminded me, our young boys are too young to be exposed to things that we can’t reverse.  As my dear friend reminded me, when I step in to parent a child who needs a lot of time an energy, it means stepping away from all of the other places I’m having influence.  Cameron and I look forward to the day when we can hear about a child who needs us and our boys are off in college, and we can say, “Yes!”  And it hurts deep down inside to realized that now is not that time.

I finally realized the truth in this, got up the courage to call the person in charge of the shelter, and then I saw that I had a voicemail waiting for me.  It was a social worker saying what a difference our visits had made in the way this sweet young girl was viewing life.  There’s joy when she wakes up in the morning, ready for school.  There’s excitement where before, there was only melancholy.  She’s telling everyone about our family…and I just lost it.  I want to save everyone!  I want to pour deeply from the well that is filled with all the love that Jesus has given me.  And when that time is not now, it’s devastating.  I don’t want her to walk through life with no one.  I don’t want her to be in a bio family who is encouraging behavior that is damaging to a 12 year old.

I have cried so many tears over the last 3 days.  I don’t know when I’ll be able to think of her without it hurting, but I did get to have a meal with her.  I did get to answer some questions she had.  I did get to ask her if I could still be a part of her life, and when she hugged me and said “yes”, my heart did a little bit more breaking.

If you think of it, please pray for M.  She needs to know how much Jesus loves her and that he views her as worthy of so much more than she’s been getting from people.

May is National Foster Care Month.  Focus On the Family’s recent broadcast tells a beautiful story of how much Foster Care matters.  There are more ways to get involved with Foster Care than simply dropping off coats at Sleep Train, or eating a Wendy’s.  If you’d like to know more, please contact me.  I’ll give you some ideas and put you in touch with the right people.





2 thoughts on “When Foster Care Means Saying “No”

  1. Sue Borges says:

    So sorry Rebekah. God has given you such a heart of compassion. There is a reason He put you in her path for even a moment in her life. If nothing else but maybe to give her hope and to see a glimpse of a different side of life!
    Love you, Mom


  2. Angela says:

    Saying no is always harder than saying yes. God told you guys what to do, and you listened. For that He is very pleased with you his daughter, and will hold this sweet girl (also His daughter) in His hand.


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