It was last Thursday, on Independence Day that my sister-in-law and her husband, also fellow Children’s ministry staff, caught wind of what was happening. Two of the children who attended our ministry regularly, and their baby brother were being taken from their mother by the local DSS.
Immediately, we were worried. We’d seen all the signs at their house, and in some ways, it was a relief to know that they would been removed from such an unsafe environment. But at the same, we felt desperate. Where were they going to end up? We know from experience how most of the foster homes in our county are not much better than the homes the kids are removed from. Some of them, of course, are, but so many of them are definitely NOT. We knew these kids. We knew their mom. We loved them. A knot formed in my stomach and stayed there the entire weekend.
And so, in desperation, began our crazy weekend.
Friday found us, as in Sharon and I, making a trip to their house to try to get in contact with their mom and check on the kids. She was there but was apparently in no shape to see anyone and the kids weren’t there either. We talked the kid’s grandma instead, a no-nonsense type of person who told us that kids had, in fact, been taken Thursday evening and placed with a great uncle for the weekend. Someone, who she said was in no shape to keep them. “CPS is coming out Monday to do a safety check and give her more information.”
“Is there family who could take the kids?” We wondered.
We left there feeling sure that there was more we should do. It sounded like the grandmother was quite certain they’d be taken and put in the foster system. We prayed. And prayed. And prayed. We sent out prayer requests. And we tried harder to get in contact with the mom. She’d had my phone number as I was her son’s CM teacher and had had contact with her before as well as picking him up some for church, etc. She texted me, and said she wanted to talk, but no time seemed to be a good one. So, wondering if we were crazy, Sharon and I made several more trips up to her house on Saturday, trying to catch her at home. She wasn’t there.
On Sunday after church, my husband and I decided to check again. She’d been texting me during church and said she was trying to get her place cleaned up with the help of a boyfriend for child services. We went, knocked, she opened the door, sat us on her couch, and talked for a full 45 minutes straight. Shaking, she told us her entire life story. The story of exactly how she got to this messy place in life, and admitted to her own brokenness. Broken-hearted she cried hot tears from her bloodshot eyes.
“If the kids do get taken tomorrow, and they can’t stay with your uncle longer than that, would you consider signing temporary custody over to us, until you can get help?”
“Oh yes absolutely!” She was relieved to know she had that option.
Nothing about this is possible. We are not licensed as foster parents yet. We don’t even have background checks or a home study done… DSS will not just give those kids to random people like that… they won’t.
Somehow, though, something kept pushing us. “Go. Go, do this.” I felt God saying over and over every time I prayed about the situation which was multiple times a day. Somehow, even though I realized I was asking for a miracle, I felt like it was something we just had to do.
Sharon and I made yet another trip to DSS Monday morning and determinedly talked to CPS, telling them everything we knew. We were astonished how seriously they took us, honestly. “You’ll need to file for custody though, to do so, and that would take at the least a couple weeks. I’ll get you the information you need right now.” the worker turned to leave the room.
That’s when Sharon asked “And if the kids get taken today? Would they just get put in the system?”
“Hopefully they could stay with the uncle…” she stopped in her tracks and it was as if an idea had popped into her head. “Until you guys can get custody…”
We left, feeling like we’d made headway but without the info she had promised.
Why are we doing this? We can’t just go in there and request that you want certain kids without even being foster parents…
But that’s exactly what we’d done.
We were barely home when I got a message from the mom. “Child services is here. My uncle can’t keep the kids after today. Please come help me!” I could tell she was panicking.
“Give them our contact info,” I texted back, trying to calm her, even though I knew they already had it. “We’ll be there soon.”
We’re stupid. We can’t just walk into the middle of a legal battle between a mom and CPS… you can’t do that…
But we prayed, and I felt sure that was exactly what we were supposed to do.
We were halfway there when my husband called me. The mom had called him and gotten the CPS worker on the phone.
“They’re giving us these kids today, Meg! Not custody, but they’re putting them on a safety plan at least while mom goes through drug rehab and they need you and Shaton to go to the office immediately to get the kids.”
It was the most unbelievable thing.
So, that is the very condensed, much-less-dramatic-than-real-life, and very quickly written story of how my husband and I very suddenly and unexpectedly became foster parents to a bouncy, smart 9 year old boy and an adorable (half Mexican), sweet 5 year old girl. And how my sister-in-law and her husband just as unexpectedly and suddenly became foster parents to a chubby, adorable 9 month old baby boy.
- Miracles happen.
- Prayer changes things. It really does.
- Impossible isn’t a word.
Of course, I’ve been a foster sister a lot. But never have I been any sort of parent. It’s different.
Shushing a tiny girl’s nightmares in the dead of night. Trying to get them on a schedule. Keeping up with a little boy with definite ADHD symptoms.
And so much more.
Pray for us.
And don’t ever be afraid to ask God for a miracle.