Why do we fight? Why turn our lives upside down for a child we barely know? Why do my wife and I spend days apart? What is the point, if the court’s point is reunification? Why put our other children through this? Why bother especially since the child is so young they won’t remember.
These questions and more have been bouncing around in my mind the past few days as our lives took a curveball last week. Our youngest foster child was admitted to the ICU at one of the big hospitals in the area. My wife has been camping out bedside since the middle of last week.
Then, our second youngest developed the stomach flu and decided to make that known during our VBS family meal (sorry folks!) exiling our family for a few days to not risk contamination. Thankfully, it was a quick bug and we’re about ready to reemerge into the world.
I imagine the people around us asking these questions. And maybe more pointed ones. Sometimes, I hesitate to say anything, because I dread a question I’m expected to answer. I know I won’t be eloquent and I may not be the most polished. There’s even a high probability of snark.
We fight because it’s what we signed up to do. You don’t only play a game while you’re ahead. You don’t encourage your kids when everything is sunny and bright. You fight for them because they need someone to fight for them. If we don’t, who will? The social worker can’t be there 24/7. We don’t have a Guardian at Litem yet. The biological parents only view him as a prize.
No, it’s not easy. It’s been very challenging for my wife and I to be separated, as if some freak southern ice storm prevented us from reaching each other. It’s been challenging on our kids to only see mom on face time or to have to endure dad’s cooking and meal planning.
It doesn’t matter if the child comes home this week, or next or the week after. We’ll be there for them. It doesn’t matter if the day the child returns to us one day and into the arms of the bio parents the next. (That is a very real possibility in this case). We have committed to loving this child as long as he is with us. And right now, he’s with us in the hospital.
I also fear the questions because I fear asking for help. Honest moment: we came from a culture that taught that asking for help was a sign of weakness, a sign of a lack of faith or of self-seeking attention. We’re now in a place where there’s a spirit of sacrificial giving- and it’s been wonderful, but yet very hard to accept. And some really gracious saints have walked with us through this difficult week.
But make no mistake, we aren’t saints to be placed on a pedestal. We’re called to do the things in life that so many others are called to do. Some have a passionate desire for the homeless, the defenseless, the elderly, the whales, the imprisoned We simply serve the orphans.
We’re grateful for those that have stepped in our messy trench this week and come alongside. We hope to do the same for you one day. But even if not, no matter the cost, we’ll continue to fight for the ones that need it. It’s simply what we do.