Forward: To any of the boys I’ve had the pleasure of knowing who may find their way to this blog–please know that I’m being a bit facetious with the wording of this post. Perhaps you wondered why I allowed something to happen or didn’t freak out as much as you might have expected when things got a little heated from time to time. This is why. And as I’m sure you’re aware, I tend to be a little sarcastic.
I suppose the title may be a little abrasive and perhaps more clickbaity than I intended, and for that I apologize.
But truth be told, there is a lot of crap involved with the foster care system. And there are a lot of reasons for all that crap. But that is all for a different post sometime in the future.
What kind of crap do I deal with? Getting yelled at, multiple police contacts for various reasons, call after call after call from principals, things broken here and there, walls getting punched–those are just a few examples of the crap I’m talking about this time.
So why the hell do I do this crap?
Sometimes the in-the-moment, honest answer is a sigh and, “I don’t freaking know.”
But the real answer is because someone needs to do it, and I feel like Jesus told me to.
One of my “life verses” is Matthew 25:40: “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
For context, Jesus was talking to his disciples about what “Judgment Day” would be like. In this conversation, he talks about people who do things like feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, welcoming strangers into their home, giving clothing to the naked, and visiting the sick and those in prison. Basically taking care of and helping the marginalized people in society.
In essence, Jesus was saying this: “If you do these things to help take care of the people nobody else cares about, it is just like you were doing it for me, because I care about them so much.”
Mix that in with the many, many places in both the Old and New Testament in which taking care of children and widows is extolled, and it is clear that helping take care of others is something that Jesus wants us to do. (Without waxing too political, I believe that we are to do this on a personal level.)
Now there are many ways to help take care of marginalized folks in society. I chose foster care because of my job working with youth at a mental health center. In that job, I got to see more up close and personally the tremendous need for good foster homes where the kids can heal from their individual traumas, and hopefully see that there is hope and a better way. Because I’m a single guy, I also knew that teenage boys would be the best fit in my home (I ain’t taking girls, and by necessity the kids have to be able to have some “self-care” time available, so they can’t be too young) and teenage boys are generally the hardest demographic to place.
Even though it can be incredibly frustrating to have to deal with all the crap of walls being punched, or being screamed and cussed at, or having things thrown, or dealing with police randomly showing up because the kids were naughty, or getting non-stop calls from school principals, there are glimmers of hope and I grow to love and genuinely care for each of the boys. I pray for them regularly, even the ones who moved on years ago.
I periodically have kids who have “graduated” from my home call, text, or stop by to check in. Some are doing better than others, but it is wonderful to know that they know they are always welcome back. Even though it may be years down the road, I’ve apparently given them something during their time at my home.
That’s why the hell I do this crap.