I can’t think of a single placement we’ve had over the years that didn’t arrive with developmental delays. Not one. That’s the reality of fostering for most of us and our kids. Whatever pain or difficulty they have dealt with in their lives it is usually, if not always, accompanied by developmental delays. Our current placements, J and A, each have speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and play therapy multiple times a week.
There is a temptation to complain about the army of therapists and case managers from both your agency and the state who are always in your home. I know, because I have done just that, complained that our home seems constantly “full”. It can be overwhelming. I get it. But life can be overwhelming for those not prepared for it.
The thing is there is a great deal of time spent each week by many people trying to help them bridge any and all developmental gaps. Only those gaps are generally physical in nature. All of the listed therapies with the exception of play therapy, addresses a physical need. But who is out there helping them address their emotional delays? Or who is helping them address spiritual issues? The answer of course is you/me/us, that’s right we are.
There is good news here. Like so many other things in life opportunity has once again presented itself disguised as a problem. Thomas Edison once said that, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
Don’t miss the opportunity to help change the trajectory of a life because it appears difficult. Our responsibility is not to maintain the status quo. Our responsibility, no matter how much time we get, is to be a active participant in the healing and development of a person. A real person whose life is not all that any of us would hope it would be.
Get all the help and support you can. Have your friends and family participate in the healing. Ask grandparents, siblings and friends to treat foster kids like they treat all the other kids. Ask your kids to do the same. Ours range from 10 to 4 and amaze me everyday how they love and accept foster kids. God is using them as healing agents as well. The last thing you need to do is create an environment where the foster kids feel “different” in your family. Spend time with other foster families. We love getting together with our friends Scott and Amanda because their family mirrors ours and everyone feels like they belong together.
Get your church* involved. They are your partner in all of this. J loves the children’s ministry at our church and A is loved on by the children’s ministry at our church. We love it because the staff and volunteers clearly all get that kids are important to Jesus and love them accordingly. Our church has support for foster and adoptive families as well. Get the support your family needs. Healing is so much more than physical.
“Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.” – Mark 9:37 (NLT)
*Our home church is Irving Bible Church
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, 60189. All rights reserved.