Day 1: Orientation/Team Building

Orientation was last night. I was surprised with the number of couples in attendance. There were well over 50 people there. We sat next to the nicest couple. They have 4 boys and are looking to add a girl to the mix. I loved hearing about the other couples and what brought them into the foster care system.
Our instructor is fantastic. Sitting in 4 hour classes after a 9 hour work day seems daunting, but she somehow makes it bearable.
She said something that struck me. In discussing one of the keys to becoming a great foster parent {one of many, I’m sure}, she said that if your heart doesn’t break when the children leave your home, then you aren’t doing it right.
I’ve talked about this in an earlier post. How hard it is going to be to have these kids come into our home, and then have them leave. The average amount of time a child remains with a foster family is 15 months. 15 months! That’s Christmas. That’s a birthday. That’s family reunions, and new school years, and worn out jeans. That is a long time. And another statistic for you: nearly 70% of children return back to their families. And I’m scared I’m going to be a wreck when it’s all staring me in the face.
But then I remember what she said last night. If you aren’t a complete wreck, then you didn’t do something right. Then you didn’t love these children fully. Then you didn’t give them everything that you had. Then you didn’t provide them with what they needed to feel like they were a part of your family.
She says rid yourselves of anyone that thinks that you need to guard yourself. Or that tells you not to get too attached. The most successful children that come out of foster care were the ones that were loved.
We watched a video about a boy named Richard. Richard was in foster care from the age of 4 until he committed suicide when he was 17. Richard was shuffled through 28 different homes and shelters. {Mind you, this was in Canada in the 70’s and 80’s…and the foster care system has changed a lot since then.} Richard was also a journal writer. How unfortunate that Richard’s experience was so awful that he felt that suicide was the only way out but how fortunate for us that we have record of his thoughts and feelings so that we can learn from him. Richard wrote about love. Such a foreign concept to him that scared him yet fascinated him. He wrote about how he couldn’t remember the last time he was held by anyone, and how much he missed it. He wrote about learning how to block out emotions, guarding himself from those around him, to keep from getting hurt.
“Love can be gentle as a lamb, or ferocious as a lion. It is something to be welcomed. It is something to be afraid of. It is good, and bad, yet, people live, fight, die for this. Somehow, people can cope with it. I don’t know, I think I would not be happy with it. Yet I am depressed and sad without it. Love is very strange.”
This can’t happen. And I know we are just a drop in the bucket to the foster care system, but it matters.
Because these kids matter.

If you want to watch the documentary, click here. {Caution: there is a picture of Richard after he committed suicide within the first few minutes.}


This is an addition brought to you in part by Abby's husband.  I thought I would surprise Abby, she doesn't know that I have taken over her blog, and all of you with my thoughts. I suppose this may happen periodically now that I have done it once. 

I just wanted to share the realization I had while sitting in the orientation.  I realized that as much as these kids need me, I need them more. I need these kids to know that I am there to help them, that I am there to protect them and that I am there to love them.  These kids will become a part of my life as much as I will become a part of theirs.  They will teach me things, they will be my heroes and I will owe them so much.  I just want people to know that while the children are benefitted through this process, we too, as the foster parents will receive so much. 

I too anticipate feeling overwhelmingly sad when a child leaves our home but my consolation is the knowledge they have imparted to me during their time. 

I'm so happy that Abby is my willing partner and that she will give me the strength to work through this. 


  1. I can't think of two people who can give their hearts more fully to these kids. Love you guys!

  2. Any child will be so blessed to share even a portion of their lives with the two of you!

  3. I am so happy for you guys! I know there are kids waiting for you! You will be great!

  4. What a touching entry ! I am so excited for you and for any of the children who are lucky enough to share your love. And I sure you will feel as lucky.
    God bless you and yours when you get them xoak