Categories for Foster Parent Experiences

Encounter with the Cross

Eight-year-old Sebastian entered the Cooper’s home with bright eyes and a head full of lice. The last ten hours had been a whirlwind. All he knew was that he was in a stranger’s house with a mom, a dad, and another young boy named George.

The first night consisted of an awkward dinner and figuring out where Sebastian was going to sleep. Luckily, their two dogs helped him feel more at home and he enjoyed their dog kisses. Later that night, Sebastian’s curiosity led him to explore his new home. The cross and picture hanging above George’s bed caught his eye. Sebastian turned to his foster mom and said, “I’ve seen that death symbol before, I know it’s important.”

Scary Movies. Vampires. Skunks. Smelly Dogs.

Abuse. Neglect. Abandonment.

When children are removed from their homes for reasons like these, child protective investigators must conduct an in-depth investigation. Why? Because we want to know as much about that child as possible in order to match them with the best foster home available. One of the many questions children are asked is what they dislike. That way, if a child is deathly terrified of dogs for instance, we’d be sure not to place them in a foster home that breeds dogs!

Recently, a young girl just under 10 years old was asked what she disliked. She simply answered, “Scary movies. Vampires. Skunks. Smelly dogs.”

Oftentimes people assume foster children are different. But the truth is that at the end of the day, they’re just like all other children…and they are just like OUR children. These are children who, by no fault of their own, have been taken away from their parents because of their parents’ decisions.

6-8 children are removed from their homes throughout Tampa Bay every day. These are children with unique gifts, special talents, and simple fears like “scary movies, vampires, skunks, and smelly dogs.” Our hope and prayer is that these children will be seen for who they truly are: just kids. And our desire is to place them in a Christian foster home where they will–many times for the first time–experience safety and unconditional Christ-like love.

I have seen children cry countless times

I have seen children cry countless times. Many times as a parent to our now 8-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, but also in my previous profession of being a Police Officer and Detective.

The night of July 9, 2015, was different though. She was weeping, not crying, not having a temper tantrum, but actual gut wrenching weeping.

Our foster daughters, who have been with us for just over a year now had just come back from a visit with their mom. The visit had taken place at their mom’s apartment, the apartment that has a bedroom all set for them to go to if a court approves.

Our 4 year-old-foster daughter was confused. Before leaving the apartment she asked her mom if she could get her pajamas from “Dan and Teri’s house” and come back to sleep in her bed.

If she has a bed, why not sleep in it? If she has a mom, why not live with her? If she can be there for two hours, why not stay the night? These were questions I know her little brain was struggling to answer as she laid in bed that night back in our home.

What was my response to her weeping? I knelt down, wrapped my arms around her and held her while she wept, tears filling my eyes.

While holding her I prayed. I prayed for Christ to heal her heart, prayed for her to KNOW she was loved by a perfect Father, a Father that would never leave her.

In John 10:9, Jesus tells us that He is the door and that if anyone enters by Him they will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.

This truth is why we are A Door Of Hope. We humbly understand that the Lord is using His church and Christian foster homes to share the unconditional love of Christ with children in crisis.

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