The Scoop – maybe??

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So, here’s the deal…to begin with, at this point I am definately leaning towards not pursuing this.  Mainly because at this point I don’t feel like God is calling me to do it.  If He did, I’d go, even with the reservations I have about it, because if it’s His idea I know He could take care of the details.  But, since right now that isn’t the case, well, holey cow!! This deal could be a nightmare!  It is more of a ‘group home’ or very ‘homey-feeling’ institution, really.  Not exactly how it was initially described to us, but not a complete surprise, either.  The amount of paperwork and rules is daunting, since you are dealing with the state.  My understanding of what we’ve been told is that if you have a foster child in your home, basically you just do what you’d do with your own kids – I mean, obviously there are checks and what-not, but you just do your thing.  Is that a proper understanding?  There, every little thing has to be done ‘just so’.  The kids have to follow the state mandated diet, so they have a nutritionist do all the shopping, planning, cooking.  There are pre-set times for afterschool snack, homework, lights-out, etc., etc., etc.  Any time a child has any problem (ie: tantrum, whatever) it has to be logged on an ‘incident report’.  All the kids are on some sort of medicines, some psychotropic.  Currently there are 6 kids, one 10 y.o. with behavioral issues and the rest surly teens, some of whom have been sent there thru the juvenile detention centers.  Just a little more than I think I want to deal with!  For me, really, the biggest issue is my own daughter.  I don’t want to do anything that screws her up for the rest of her life!  She’s my top priority, obviously.  Now, it could be that she’d learn so much and grow in positive ways – again, if I really felt the Lord was telling me to do this, I’m sure he’d protect her, body and soul – but if He’s not, maybe it’s not a good idea to throw her in there.  There is a staff of 5; the nutritionist, the paperwork gal (yeah, the technical term for her!) and a couple others, plus the director.  The director is a wonderful woman, I can see that this work is what she was meant to do!  On the one hand, having someone there to handle all that paperwork, and someone else to shop and cook is awesome – but on the other hand, that means there are always people there in the home…it’s not like we would have really any place of our own… and I’m a nester.  I don’t think I’d handle that well.  It doesn’t pay enough that we could live there plus keep our own home for our time off.  I think I’d feel almost "homeless".  The part that’d be really cool is that Alan and I would be doing it together… it’s not like he’d be heading off to some other job while I play chauffer to 8 kids….but I’m thinking maybe there is something else we could do together….!  It also became apparent during our chat that the board may not even want to find new ‘house parents’ but maybe find a way to financially carry on the way it is now, with the staff working lots of extra hours and taking care of all the details, including the nighttime stay and all.  I don’t know…. it’s not totally crossed off the list, but we will give it more prayer over the next few days and see.  Oh, and the only pet we could MAYBE bring would be the dog…not the cat or the rat.  Being a huge animal person, that is an issue for me.  Even the dog, they said she’d have to be an outdoor dog…who are we kidding???  My dog only goes out to do her business, then wants right back in…like, what, do I think she’s a dog or something?  lol.  Besides – I’d really like to know how she could possibly be outside there at this point… the snow is up to the top of the windows!  Where exactly would she go??   So, that’s the deal.  I think Alan is feeling disappointed because he’d love to be doing some sort of full-time ministry.  I think he’s more for it than I am.  My gut tells me it’s not right… and my gut usually knows what it’s talking about.  I’ll keep y’all posted.
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5 responses »

  1. Ann, thaks for updating.  I immediately thought of Kiki – and then you mentioned her in the equation.  Because of all the issues you mentioned, nesting, the dog, the pay, the political structure, I would think the door is not necessarily wide open at this time to move forward.  Only you know the voice of the Lord on your heart in this matter.  I\’ll pray for you that He will make it clear what He has for your and your family with this matter.
     
    Take care,
    B

  2. Hi Ann,
    Today I was thinking about you and the fact that fostering is a ministry of sort.  Then I thought about it being a group home type of setting.  Having house parents would certainly make it seem more of a family and home setting.  My concerns are the ones you listed.  Especially Kiki. 
    I do think that the fostering experience could be an incredible one for you and your family…including Kiki.   I would recommend a child younger than Kiki to start with and also that it would be in your own home.  I know that\’s different than what this opportunity is presenting.  Your idea of fostering is correct when you said the child becomes a member of your family….   and does everything  the same as your own.
    The purpose of fostering is to nurture a child in a family.  A group home generally is a place where special needs too severe to be met in a family setting are taken care of.  Safety is often an important issue.
    Our pastor referred to our fostering as a ministry many years ago and I thought it was an amazing way to look at it.
    One thing I have found is that you lose your family privacy with older children as opposed to having younger children in your home.  We had kids ages birth to 17.
    You have a lot of gifts that could nurture and enrich a child/children\’s lives.  It could also be an incredible experience for Kiki, teaching her empathy and compassion.
    Praying that the Lord gives you wisdom and guides you to the ministry He has in mind for you.
    Much love  🙂

  3. Ann,
     
    Like Brenda, my first thought was Kiki.  I was preparing to send you a message on that but since you have addressed it in your blog I will say that I think your instincts and discernment are right on.  The situation you would become a part of does not seem to suit your family needs, and their needs would be better served by having a couple without children, or at least and older child.  A teen that is more used to the world, dealing with other children, and so grounded in the Lord that the behavior of troubled and needy children would not confuse, negatively influence, or cause him/her to feel neglected themselves, would be best suited.
     
    A Christian trying to do a ministry in a state run institution, of this day and age, ends up, in my humble opinion, with hands tied, for the most part.  For a family seeking God\’s will, it doesn\’t make sense to me that God would call you to being bound in a state run environment, and that He has something better suited for you, where an open door would present itself, and you would have peace and excitement about it, because it would be clear that it would strengthen, not weaken your family unit.
     
    Praying God will continue to guide you as you are sensitive to His leading and direction.  God bless you, my friend!
     
    Love and hugs,
    Beth
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  4. When you first mentioned this idea Kiki is the first thing I thought of.  Even in foster parenting there are issues with bringing an abused and neglected child into your home – especially for your own children.  In a group home setting Kiki would be exposed to behavior, language, thoughts and beliefs that would go against every value you have worked so hard to instil in her.  I assume protecting her from negative wordly  influences is one of the reasons you home school.  Some day she will be ready to influence others for God, instead of being influenced.  You just have to decide when that is.  If God wants you in full-time ministry, I am sure He will bring you to something that is suitable for your whole family. 

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