I was awakened this morning by the cries of a 17yr old boy who is mentally disabled. My mom does therapeutic foster care, and as I still live at home, sometimes this is how I am awakened. Sometimes the children she takes in have anger issues, abandonment issues, mental issues, medical issues, and sometimes none or all of these problems. My parents began this vocation when I was in first grade. After giving birth to my sister and I; Mom, (with Dad's full support) decided to open her home to others, citing James 1:27 as her reasoning. It goes like this: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
I love that Dad and Mom do this. Because of their faith in Jesus Christ, and the love of children God placed in Mom and Dad's hearts, they have taken in 8 girls and just as many boys over the last 16 years. Usually each child lives with us for two years, and either age out of the system, go to live with their relatives, or (in the worst of cases) go to a residential facility. In my life, this has taught me how to be hospitable, selfless, considerate, and patient. Most certainly patient.
My father keeps telling my mother to tell me stories of what she has learned about child-rearing from each kid, and for me to transcribe this into a book of memoirs. He says that it will be a best-seller and will encourage other Americans to be courageous and to open their homes to wards of the state. I smile and think, that is not the type of writing I am used to, but I know it will help other therapeutic foster parents to be encouraged and to keep up the good work. So, when my mom is really, I have a pen and paper at the ready!
I love what my parents do. There are rare moments though when I don't always feel comfortable living at such an open home. The biggest problem I've had over the years has been with boyfriends. These guys either have a problem with my desire to write for a living or my desire to have a big family. These guys are the ones who want a secluded 3 bdrm house with 1.5 kids and a dog, while I know I want 5 kids (mine or the state's, it makes no difference) and a hospitable house. I don't know if any guys at the local pub, or even the church will want so many kids, especially if some of the gang are not from their loins. But I think I'll keep praying. Only God knows what the future holds. ;)