Yesterday was my first night away from the house since we’ve taken on the three boys. As I mentioned in my previous post, I am not worried at all about Jessica’s ability to handle it. She’s great with the kids and knows just how to handle almost any situation. While she likes things a certain way, she’s very adept at improvising and changing the plan to suit the need.
Since we started this, I’ve been given a lot of compliments. Things like, “you’re doing a great thing”, “you’re awesome”, “you’re crazy (but in a good way)”, etc. And while any or all of the above are debatable, I am not sure that the proper credit is being given where it’s due, here. And that’s why I feel the need to write about Jessica.
The truth of the matter is, I would not be doing any of this if it were not for Jessica. If you have not read her About Me page, I’d highly recommend that you do. While this a page that I lifted directly from her old blogging site “Deliberate Legacies,” and is a little outdated, it will still give many of you who don’t know her an idea of what she’s about.
Jessica is a product of the foster care system, and as such, has great insight into what goes on in the minds of kids and foster parents alike as well as what’s wrong with the system.
While I have always considered myself a fairly compassionate guy, there is probably no way that ten years ago I would have been even slightly open to taking in one kid let alone three. Too much change of my daily routine. Too much loss of freedom. Too much heartache. Not enough love. Kids are screwed up. Any if not all of those would have been my excuses. And the reality is that chances are, ten years ago I would have totally sucked at it. If it wasn’t for the eye opening experience I got from Jessica, years of seeing her compassion in action (and that’s the key – putting that compassion into action), and experiencing how she sees the world, both as an effect of her childhood experience and as a result of how she overcame the problems she faced, I am certain that my attitude would be the same today as it was ten years ago.
One of the biggest problems that we have in these situations is that stories like what is going on with the three we’ve taken are a dime a dozen; maybe even a dime a hundred (or more!), but the number of qualified people out there to take on the kids is so few. When motivating factors for fostering kids tend to involve the fact that money is involved, the situation is already screwed up. Add to that that many times, kids go into their foster homes and end up in situations as bad (or sometimes worse) than the situation they came from.
Whether or not Jessica and I are going to make the greatest parents in the world still remains to be seen. There are so many factors and we, just like every parent out there, are making things up as we go along. But I can tell you that unless your mantra and motivation is, “we’re doing it for the kids” and you believe it, my bet is that you are already heading down the wrong path.