I sorted clothes today at one of our local foster care closets. I helped a teen boy, 15-years-old, pick out some jeans and shirts. I had him laughing because I was teasing him that his favorite color must be gray. I offered him a sweater and told him he’d look like Mr. Rogers. Once I had made him smile, I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to say, “Hey, I get that life really sucks today. But hang in there.” But I didn’t.
Driving home from volunteering there today I was overwhelmed with some really big feelings. Monday of this week, we got 3 calls for teens in less than an 8 hour time span. Tuesday and Wednesday of this week a teen that is very close to our family was texting me, sharing that she’s having a bad week. Then Thursday (today), I meet this young man at the closet.
He wasn’t in school today because he just came into care with his siblings.
So, yeah. Big feelings.
My own teenage son and his siblings aren’t in school today either. They’re not even doing schoolwork here because they are on a trip with their grandparents. Getting to swim, ride bikes, play laser tag. They are eating junk food and watching too many movies. They’re making memories and getting loved on.
They aren’t standing awkwardly with adults asking them what size they wear and handing them used clothing and shoes and a coat that’s a little too big. They aren’t wondering what tomorrow will hold. When they will see or talk to their parents? What will school be like now?
This is painful. This wait. I know now isn’t the time for us to take in teens from foster care.
And I know, logically, that because our family is big and that often times sibling groups come into care together, that getting a call for a single child isn’t going to happen as often. I get it.
But, friends, this is a hard wait. Knowing, meeting, seeing all the children that need care and feeling like we can’t just say, “yes, bring them here.” It’s heart-wrenching.
So I am continuing to lean on truth. And help where I can.