“When I was very young, adoption was planted deep in my heart, and my husband and I always talked about building a family through adoption. Little did we know that was God’s plan for how we built our family. We received training from The Call and adopted siblings in March of 2020.
The approval time for us was 6-9 months. It was a very long process, from the admissions papers and training to waiting on our home study. You feel like you’re always waiting on someone.
For us, one of the biggest challenges was being handed children and knowing nothing about them. Even if the state does know things about the children, they don’t disclose it to you. I think it would be helpful for the children themselves if foster parents were allowed more access to information about their history and challenges they’re facing.
I’ve also seen the severe effects of displacement on these children. Our oldest adopted child says the most tragic day of her life isn’t what happened to her before foster care. It was the day she was taken into foster care.
My daughter was eight years old when a strange man placed her into a car with her sister. The man was a [Department of Human Services] worker, but she didn’t know that. She remembers beating, screaming, and crying in the back seat of the car for someone to help her. She thought she was being abducted.
We have to do better than that. Someone needs to do better for these children than for them to think they’re being abducted from their school by a man they don’t know.
That’s why we should look at places where they’re eliminating the need for foster care. There’s pockets in the country where this has happened – where the Church has stepped in. The care for the widow and the orphan is a command from scripture that the Church needs to fulfill. And when the Church steps away from their role, chaos ensues. That’s what’s happened in our foster care system. We need to privatize it more and allow religious organizations to step in.
We need to back up and add support services to struggling families before we take their children away. If we support them earlier, we will have less children in need of foster care. And in situations where something needs to happen, we should allow the Church to play a bigger part. Our first instinct shouldn’t be to remove these children from their homes. The longer children are in foster care, the more harm it does to them.
I really believe this is a calling; it’s not something you can step into lightly. You’re dealing with hard situations with very little information and, sometimes, very little support. My daughter said it best: We need to make sure the people that actually care are the ones doing the job.”
Arkansas mom and foster child advocate