After my last post, I thought I should refocus on my heart behind my home. What so clearly started at black and white has, unsurprisingly, been blurred by my heart.
A few weeks ago, I was invited to a training on cooperative parenting. The theory is that foster parents and birth parents will work together to parent the children. Often times the result is that the foster parent can become a lifelong resource and mentor for the birth family.
This practice has been put in place in other parts of the country with great success. We’re just beginning to see the value of the idea here.
I, for one, love it.
I know that there will be lots of resistence and fear from all sides of the table on implementing this, but I think it really has the potential to work…
If all parties have a common goal: The reunification and preservation of the family unit.
In other words, I as a foster parent, have to see the value and benefit of my children being reunited with their birth parents. And I do. Most of the time.
The majority of children in foster care are not here because of excessive abuse, but neglect. That neglect often stems from the result of drug addiction or mental instability on the parents’ part. Therefore, if we address the deeper issues with the family units, we should, in theory of course, be able to reunite the families who, with continued support, can successfully raise their children in a safe, loving environment.
The key to all of this working is to take each family on an individual basis. The theory can not work as a band-aid across the board. Ummm… duh!
So where does this put me. With some serious prayer and refocus, I’m still uncomfortable with the idea of Simeon being reunited with his mother. But, I have renewed passion in working with dad. Statistically, he’s bound to fail… again. But, if we work hard as a parenting unit and social service team, I think we have a chance at beating the odds.
Of course, this is what I say… and sincerely mean, mostly. Of course, there’s the little problem with my heart. But I trust that there is a plan and a purpose in Simeon’s life and that if I am faithful to the calling I believe God has placed on mine, Simeon will be where he’s supposed to be. The truth is, that may not be with me. (It makes me heavy chested just entertaining that thought).
Claudius on the other hand, has a real chance to be with his family again. I love him, I do. But I know in the deepest part of my heart and gut that his mother loves him very much. She’s got hurts and addictions and many mountains in the way, but if I can earn her trust and if she’s willing, we can work together to get her family back together.
He won’t get the life he would have with me. But, his mother and siblings will be together. No matter how good life is elsewhere, I know from experience, nothing can replace the love and the feeling of being desired by your biological parent. As perfectly amazing and wonderful as my step-dad is, he’ll never fill the void my biological father left. I never lacked love, or opportunity. In fact, my life was better with my step-dad, and yet… and yet, I never stopped wanting to be loved by my father. Never.
Claudius may not have the best of anything with his birth family, but he can have the love of his family, knowing tha above all else, he is the reason his mother survived. He will have a chance at happiness and love and wholeness and that is why I do what I do.