This might as well be my next blog!
What an AMAZING story! While this one got media attention because of the situation I wish in some way every story like this would receive the same spotlight. But that would be overwhelming. Possibly hard to grasp for all those who don't see it going on around them. Plus, I don't think there would be enough air time on TV to handle the sheer volume of similar stories that exist like this today.
As of right now a majority of children coming into Children services/ foster care is because of drug addiction. Many are drug addicted babies. This is now the NORM. Just this week our adoption agency held a Christmas party for the kids in care through their service. As I surveyed the room of close to 50 families almost all were placements because of drug addiction. I would guess that just out of that group at least 40 of the families had babies or toddlers that were all drug addicted at birth. When we started fostering 4 years ago we were told that you typically don't see a lot of babies coming into care. Now, that is the majority and there are not enough families in place to help. So, if you have ever felt the nudge to make a difference or be involved in foster care now is the time. These babies need loving homes. It's that simple. This story makes it look easy but this (in my opinion)is a rare case. It's hard. It takes all your resources and can be an emotional roller coaster. When you open up your home to these babies some of your personal relationships suffer because of your involvement with foster care while others are strengthened. On the outside your family will seem to be withdrawn and less interactive than before. Loved ones or close friends will think you've become selfish and don't do the things you used to do. But what they don't see are the sleepless nights of loving on these babies because (for some) they are going through withdrawal. Their cries are heart piercing. Their tremors are scary to watch. The onslaught of doctors visits and specialists at first is daunting. You see, when you have healthy kids you go through phases and for the most part healthy babies are predictable thus why you have routine Dr visits. Drug babies are each unique depending of the severity of their addiction and if they were properly treated at birth. Your family is not avoiding traditions or living in isolation(though it may feel like it) your simply putting everything you have into helping and loving these babies. Stopping at nothing to see them become healthy and a success. You'll become part of a new TRIBE with other foster families and learn to lean on each other to get through the day to day. You brace yourself for Parent visits each week. Yes, if the family is still involved you'll have visitations. Birth Mom's work on their case plan to get sober and hopefully find routine life but the drugs don't allow them. Visits start off hopeful. You the foster parent bringing in their baby to try and bond. Visitation looks like a busy doctors office with multiple small rooms off a large area where birth families meet and interact with their kids in a supervised environment. Here, once again, you are reminded of the drug problem. You are reminded of how good your life is or how your upbringing wasn't really the bad. The smell of hopelessness fills the room. Faces full of despair and arms scared from drug abuse overload your visual senses. The visitation center is always busy. Each room full and like a revolving door. One after another families try to connect. This could go on for a couple of months or a couple of years. During this time you're also meeting with case workers in your home. One from your agency and one from children's services. They have to do in home visits to check on the progress of the baby and if they are connecting with your family. Then one day you go to visit and Mom is not there. Her attendance becomes sporadic at best and then she just quits showing up. The drugs win...again. At first you can't understand how she could give up. Then remember conversations about their past and family life and realize you can't believe they made it this far. full length mother of the bride wears look long
Did you notice that? Not once did I mention Dad. For the most part they bailed long ago. Are in prison. Dead or not even known. It takes two. While we deal mainly with the mothers I tend to get more upset over the absent father and believe a majority of this problem lies on the fact the men are not being men. They treat these women like sex slaves and drugs are the currency. In the end the babies suffer. It's not what they have done that place them in your home but what has happened to them. A choice not their own.
In the end we need more families to help these babies. We need a better system to do what's best for these little ones. Foster families need more resources to better equip themselves. It's hard to work full-time and meet all the requirements, go to all the meetings, be at all the visits, show up to court cases, and get them to the specialists they need to overcome their parent's addiction.
It's all worth it! The day you hear their 1st laugh. They say their 1st word. When the Doctor's tell you the blood work came back normal for the 1st time. When they sleep through night and you realize you haven't seen a tremor in days. Sure there will be more too come in the future because we yet know how the drugs will affect them as they develop. But for now all they need is a loving home! Could it be yours?
God doesn't call the qualified. He qualifies the called!