To you, this might just look like a mess. To me, it tells a story of some of the many things foster care is.
All the white powdery stuff is moon sand. A simple combination of corn starch and baby oil that becomes a sand-like substance that keeps kids busy for hours and creates an incredible mess. On the white tablecloth you can see a variety of cups, bowl, spoons, and trucks that were used during this particular moon sand session. At the bottom of the picture is a pair of 3T boys underwear. Michael, our 3-year-old foster boy, was not at all happy that it was time to be done playing with the moon sand. In his act of great defiance, he took off all of his clothes and stormed off to his bedroom. Somewhere out of frame is a pair of small athletic shorts and a tiny t-shirt.
So what does an angry, naked, 3-year-old have to teach us about foster care?
Foster care is fun. Kids in foster care are still kids. They love to play games and be silly and learn new things. Kids have so much joy, even in the face of some of the horrific traumas they’ve endured. It can be so much fun to experience life through the eyes of a child. Michael celebrated his 4th birthday with us, and it was the first time he had experienced a birthday party. He swelled with pride and joy when he saw his birthday cake and blew out all the candles on the first try. Foster care is fun.
Foster care is also messy. It’s literally messy, because of things like moon sand, and anytime you add a person to your family you increase the amount of dishes, laundry, and toys that are in your house and decrease the amount of time you have to clean it all up. It’s emotionally messy, because many of these kids come with baggage from past hurts and experiences that is incredibly complicated. There’s no easy way to help them through their issues. It’s weird to have to say “I understand that you were upset about being done with moon sand, but it’s really important that we keep our underwear on.”
Foster care is spiritually messy. It’s difficult to balance God’s judgement and justice with His mercy and grace. When Michael first came to us we were angry at his parents for how they had treated little Michael. We were glad that he was out of his ‘bad’ home and living in our ‘good’ one. Over time though, the thoughts of justice and judgment slowly turned into thoughts of grace and mercy for parents who were broken like we were broken. Our hearts softened, and on the day that Michael returned home to his parents it was still very messy, but it was a beautiful sight to see a family reunited.
Please call 864-938-2100 or complete the form below to begin your foster care journey or to ask how we can help you with foster care.