Letter from a Kinship Mama
We are not your typical foster family. We stumbled upon something I now believe God was calling us to the entire time.
In May of 2020, our dear friend and former nanny called needing a safe home for herself and her 4-month-old grandson as his home wasn't an option. Hubs and I have three children and were heading out on a long camping weekend, but our friend was in a hard place having accepted immediate custody of her grandchild. We consider our friend and her daughters as family so we offered our home and time to troubleshoot the challenges when we returned from the mountains. What started as a small offer quickly became an all-in undertaking. We were our friend’s safest option and reluctantly agreed to share our home until a longer-term solution was reached so she and her grandchild could stay with people they knew. We became a kinship foster home.
I was raised by a mama who taught kids with delays and loved on kids from hard places; brought up knowing how important consistency, routine, and early intervention is for a kiddo’s development, especially babies. My own brother was adopted out of foster care and struggled with Reactive Attachment Disorder because of multiple moves in foster care. With that in mind, consistency and stability were priorities for this little one and my friend struggled to provide that. I needed to speak up. I consider myself to be outspoken and opinionated, and yet, in foster care, you need to walk into the hard and often quiet places full of heavy emotions, and speak with love in your heart. People-pleasing has no place, only honest love. It's tough and heavy, and I felt unprepared.
Over the next month I danced the line of providing my friend and her grandbaby a home, knowing Baby Boy was left with us many evenings or taken out for late night events. We raised some concerns with Baby Boy’s case worker, but they were met with vague responses about what was allowed. We finally had to make the decision to do what was best for the child. When we were blunt and descriptive about what was happening, placement was transferred to our care.
Fast forward 10 months and Baby Boy is still in our full-time care. Because of our advocacy and intervention, his medical needs have been diagnosed. Baby Boy had stability; he wasn't transferred to multiple homes during this most formative time for attachment. Several of Baby Boy’s family members were eager to be involved, but very few have been willing to be a consistent presence. The human side of me is angry at this, but I remember our family is in a place to give Baby Boy the care and advocacy he needs as long as he needs it. That’s our role in this. I can't stress how necessary it is for each of us to follow our intuition when advocating for a child. So many times I felt like I was betraying my friend, or like this wasn't my business, and yet I thank God I didn't shy away from the hard conversations because Baby Boy needed me to speak for him when he didn't yet have a voice.
My mantra has been to just do the next right thing. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be present with Baby Boy so he can have one more month of intervention, one extra month of consistency. I am grateful for others who walk this road with me.
Sacrifices? Saying yes to kinship care means being willing to run the gauntlet like the child’s your own. There’s a sacrifice of freedom to travel and time with our other kids and all the extra steps managing the house with a toddler. A kinship family must be ALL IN, but the sacrifices are small compared to the reward of Baby Boy having a voice and receiving the medical care he deserves. We love him and want healing for Baby Boy and his family.
How can you pray for this Kinship Mama and other parents like her?
Pray for the presence of God to fill the hearts and lives of everyone involved in the child’s case. Pray for the health and safety of the child. Pray for healing and restorative relationships.
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