by Laura Koch, Foster Mom
My husband and I began our journey as foster parents more than two years ago. After many conversations and prayer we decided that fostering would be something that would be good for our family to do. Our children were growing up, we had the space for one child and taking care of children was something we have naturally done over the past 21 years. Our county was (and still is) in need of foster parents, so we decided to attend an informational meeting.
It is not easy to be licensed by the state, although there are people to help you achieve that goal. We had to fill out many detailed questionnaires about our entire lives, provide the address of every place we lived since the age 18, provide copies of birth certificates for the entire household, release school transcripts on all our children, go through physicals, provide detailed income and spending information regarding our household, sign forms on what we will do and not do regarding a child placed in our care, and provide proof of insurance on the house and our vehicles. On top of all that, my husband and I had to go through 36 hours of training. After all these things were done, we became licensed, and within a few days we received our first placement, a six-week old boy.
I cried the moment he was placed in my arms. He was to be our first foster son. I was so happy to have him and also filled with such sorrow that such a tiny little child could already be in need of foster care. I wondered how I would respond having someone’s child entrusted to my care 24 hours a day. Would I be able to love this child as my own while he was with us? My answer came in the wee hours that first night. On that first night, and many nights after, as I fed him, I sobbed, and prayed, and knew in my heart that it would not be a burden to be this child’s mother, for a time.
As a new foster mom those first months were very hard. I was very emotional and cried many times for our foster son. I cried being thankful for my own children. And I cried when the van driver would pull up in front of our house to pick up our foster son for a visit with his parents. Sometimes there would be other children in the van . . . beautiful children of all skin colors, boys and girls, infants and teens and everything in between. It broke my heart to know there were so many children staying with so many foster families and I also I knew I wasn’t the only foster mommy sending a child on a visit.
Many new people entered our life in the months to come. We were assigned a social worker and our foster son had his own social worker. These people would need to meet with us to get to know us and would provide us with details of our foster son’s case. There were van drivers assigned to picking him up and dropping him off after visits. There were therapists providing care for him when he failed to achieve milestones. And there were many lawyers helping to sort out the things that were going on in the court room. And, finally, we were able to get to know his parents and a sibling.
This was, perhaps, one of the hardest things I ever had to do, but also one of the most fulfilling. It requires trying to stay in control of one’s emotions when you really just want to scream. You have to be nice, even when you don’t want to. I still have my moments, but for the most part, I am glad that I can speak with both of his parents. Sometimes I write notes about their child; sometimes I send pictures. Both of his parents are genuinely thankful for the kindness extended to them and they, in return are kind to me and my family. If our foster son is ever returned to their care, I will know them and hopefully be allowed to have some contact with their son. And if we are able to adopt their child, they will already have a relationship with us.
Our greatest privilege and joy, though, has been bringing our foster son to the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. Since he was a tiny baby he has consistently heard the Word of our Lord in Divine Service. He says, “Amen” and is learning to fold his hands in prayer. He is learning Luther’s Evening Prayer and Luther’s Table Prayer. He joined my class for Sunday School and loves to listen to Bible verses set to music. It is my fervent prayer that he is raised knowing Christ is his Savior . . . and finally this month (it took awhile to get permission) he was baptized into God’s family by his foster father with his father and myself witnessing this gift of God. Whatever the future holds for this little one, it is good to know he had a good start in life and has become God’s child in baptism.
We have just renewed our license and have also been approved for adoption. (If a child came into our home and became available for adoption, we would be able to adopt.) That little boy that came into our care at six weeks is still with us and is now a talking two year old. Our entire family (and our friends) have grown to love him.
In human knowledge, his future is uncertain. Yet God knows, and He will determine just where this child should live out his days. It is not easy, at times, watching that plan unfold. Sometimes things happen and we wonder why? But, like many things in life, the Lord uses these situations to lead us to trust in His good and gracious will. He “gifts” us to treasure the days we have with a foster child . . . which also reminds us to treasure our time with each other as well. Thanks be to God, who in Baptism has adopted us, treasuring us as His own dear children!
Laura Koch is the wife of Rev. Aaron Koch and the proud mother of Rebekah, Philip, Hannah, Mary and a foster mommy to Benjamin. The Koch family is also involved with Higher Things; Pastor Koch led a group to Amen in the Poconos. Laura can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Created: July 16th, 2008