Ad-dic-tion noun – the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.
Hi, my name is Emilee and I am an addict. Not to alcohol or drugs. No, I have an addiction to foster care. I have used the analogy that it seems like a drug sometimes. If I could just get one more hit (kid) or one more drink I would be satisfied. But that is never the case. Child after child I say I am going to take a break. I am going to maybe quit all together. This is the last one. Then that child moves on and I am waiting for the next referral. I feel the flutter of excitement when the phone rings or the email comes in from our worker. I start doubting that I want to do this again. Then I hear the story and I always ask for the names so it seems more personal. And I sit and think. I go back and forth. I weigh the pros and cons. I ask A LOT of questions. I talk to Matthew and the kids. I make sure they are on board. There is never a placement accepted if we all don’t agree to it. Then most of the time I decline or take so long to decide that another home is found. I do not take placements lightly. I am in this for the long haul. I want it to work out. Whether that be until the child returns homes, TPR is done, family members are found or we decide to have the child(ren) placed elsewhere.
So yea, I think it is fair to say that foster care is an addiction. Sometimes I even feel the need to “hide” this addiction. I get nervous to tell family and friends of our decision to accept another placement. I slowly introduce the idea that maybe we are ready. That there may be a good fit. I know that the people concerned about us only have our best interest at heart, but as true with any addiction the person addicted doesn’t always see clearly. It may not be the same as a drug addiction or an alcoholic but there is a dependence on fostering. I depend on fostering to bring me closer to God. To lean on his understanding and not my own. To understand that I am not in control and he has greater plans for us all. I always feel like there is just one more child that needs help, needs loved, needs a home, needs God. I want to be the hands and feet of God. I want to bring these kids to him. I want to show them the love of the Father and of a family. And I want to bring myself and my children closer to God. What better way is there to show God’s love than to open your heart and home to children that are sometimes difficult to love.
So as the two children that have been living with us for over a year are packing and preparing to leave this week, I am preparing the room again. I am already thinking of ways to arrange the beds so that we could accept more than one if needed. I am thinking about what ages we would be open to this time. Would we want more than one again? Do we want to do a teen and her baby? Do we want just one little one? One older child? As sad as it is there will always be kids to fulfill my addiction. I will always be able to take another child in, as long as we decide as a family that we want to continue to feed this addiction. So who knows, we may take a break or more than likely we will decide to take a few more kids!