Foster Parents Don’t Get the Final Say

By August 17, 2020August 19th, 2020Blog

Today, I don’t like foster care.

I don’t like seeing the faults of the system. It was never the final or complete solution meant to overcome abuse and neglect, but it’s what we have to work through. But, today . . . today is hard.

I’m feeling the brokenness. I feel the burden of it all. The weight of what is happening in my little one’s life is heavy. Caring for this child for the last 500+ days has given me an understanding of what is best for her today and, I believe, for her future. At this point in her life, I’m the person who knows her best. We’re blessed by an incredible caseworker who is in it with us, but the reality that I don’t get to make the decisions that impact the rest of her life is hard.

The delays, the continuations, and the continued trauma my kiddo is experiencing are incredibly frustrating. I get little, if any, say in the decisions that create them.

This breaks me.

I will never fully understand or even know the trauma and life my little one walked through before I had the honor of being a part of her life. As foster parents, we are caring for littles (and bigs) and walking with them through their healing journey of trauma we did not create.

I knew all of these things to be true even before becoming a foster parent. Still, something changes when you have a personal investment in a situation—when you have an attachment to the child the whole case revolves around.

We want to know more; we want to advocate more; we want to be involved in decisions; we just want to do MORE. And yet, there is always this place we come to, where we can’t do anymore.

Can you relate?

I really struggle with being in this place, having to sit on the sidelines and watch the child’s life (that I love with my whole heart) unfold with little say from myself, the person parenting and caring for her every day.

Sure, I continue to do my best. I continue to make the parenting decisions in my home that I believe are best for her. But there’s this whole other world where I am not privy to the decision-making portion of the trajectory of her case and life.

Thankfully there is a big BUT. I think you may know where I’m going to go from here. And I’m going to say it anyway because I believe the more we say it, the more we read it, the more we remind ourselves of this, the more we truly accept it in our hearts, the more we’ll walk in obedience with our Heavenly Father to honor and glorify Him in all things.

It’s easy to be angry at a system not created by our perfect God. It’s easy to get frustrated with the human way of doing things. So here’s my BUT.

But GOD, my friend! As foster parents, we may not be in the decisions for our kiddos to the degree we’d wish we could, but GOD is. He has our lives and our children’s lives planned out. He knows what’s coming next. He knows what our child needs. He knows what this next therapy appointment, behavior assessment, parent-child visit, or court trial will hold. He knows. And with His knowledge and great plans for this child’s life, we can hold fast to the promise that He will be present through it all. He will take great care of our children and never leave or forsake them.

That’s what I am holding onto right now.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts; neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV

I believe His ways are higher.

I believe that He loves my little girl more than even I do—and that is a whole lot, my friends.

Jillian Kellenberger

Jillian has a passion for building relationships and loving people well. She desires to see the Church mobilized to support and step into the lives of those affected by foster care. As a foster mom, she is currently relying on donuts, coffee, and JESUS!

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