Saturday, September 14, 2013
Moving and Foster Care
I moved this week. My wife and I packed up our belongings, loaded up a shipping crate with most of them, crammed the rest into our car, and headed west. We’re back in Southern California. We had tried to find housing in California by using Zillow, but it’s much easier to get a feel for a place in person. Thankfully, we have friends in California that let us stay with them while we completed our search for housing. Soon, we’ll be back at home (in a new home), and life will get back to (an admittedly new version of) normal.
Our move has been a good one. We deliberated for weeks over whether to stay in Missouri or to return to California, and after much prayer, consultation with friends, and discussions with each other, we decided to head back. We’re returning to jobs that were waiting for us, friends that love us, a church that cares about us, and opportunities that excite us. We returned west with the blessings of our families, who really would have preferred us to move loser to them (our families are all East-coast based). The move is as good as a move can be.
But I still really hate moving. I don’t mean that I hate being someplace new. I just hate the act of moving. There’s a list that I came across during college which highlights the most stressful experiences that a person goes through. Marriage, divorce, change in employment and moving all share space on that list of stressors. Moving is stressful! You have to choose which of your belongings to keep, and which to discard. You’ll say goodbye to people and places that have become familiar and comfortable. You have to learn how to fit in a new environment (even though I’m moving back to California, so much has changed in the last year, and I will have to learn to fit in again…). And, in our case, we moved without even knowing where our ultimate address would be. Moving is stressful, even in the best of circumstances. It’s a stressful time of change, uncertainty, and at least some losses.
And then I remember the hundreds of thousands of children that will pass through foster care at some time this year.
Like moving, foster care is “a stressful time of change, uncertainty, and at least some loss.” Like moving, foster care requires children to “say goodbye to people and places that have become familiar and comfortable.” It requires them to “learn how to fit in a new environment.” It often requires the child to move into a new home “without even knowing where there ultimate address will be.” When I moved, I moved after weeks of deliberations – kids in foster care are often moved with minimal or no notice. When I moved, I had the blessing of my family and friends. When kids in foster care are moved, they often receive blame. When I moved, it was my choice. When kids in foster care move, it’s almost always a choice made by someone else. They’re moved because someone feels that the kids are in danger, or because someone feels the kids are a danger.
Moving is stressful, even in the best of circumstances. In the worst of circumstances, it can be traumatic. Foster kids typically move from a stressful situation, in a stressful process. They deserve – and they need – for the situation they move into to be stable, understanding, forbearing, and loving. Maybe this is where you can help. Foster kids need loving, stable, nurturing, safe, and understanding places to call home – maybe for life, maybe just for a season. You might be that family. You might know someone who could be that family. Your understanding, your stability, and your love can help bring an eventual sense of peace and healing to a child in turbulence.
Want to get started? Google search "foster care" and the name of your county.
Want to keep reading? These posts might be helpful: What Kids in Foster Care Need, When Foster Care Works, and What to Expect if You Foster-Adopt.