Foster Care – Our Final Chapter

11 06 2018

Even after the dynamics of our second placement, we knew we weren’t finished with this foster care journey. We got two girls out of a group home in August of 2011. They were amazing young ladies who were about 26 months apart in age. They started going to the same school where my wife worked. The next year we enrolled them in the local elementary school as my wife was changing schools and we thought it would be good for them to go to school with other kids in the neighborhood.

It was about this time we were asked if we would be willing to adopt the two girls. We had already raised four kids through the teenage years and did we really want to do that again? Did I really want to go through the teenage years again with two more girls?We prayed about it and realized that God wanted us to take that step. So we said yes and then received a court order to become certified to adopt them as soon as the severance process was completed.

Though we didn’t talk to the girls about adopting them, having been with us for over a years, the girls started asking about where they would go to school for Junior High and High school. We emotionally got way ahead of the process. On the day that was supposed to be the start of the severance trial, literally an hour before the proceeding was supposed to start, the relatively new DCS worker told me they were going to be sending the girls back home with mom in 10 days. I think this DCS case worker had been on the case for a month or so when this happened.

For those of you who have read all my posts about foster care, the organization formerly known as Child Protective Services (CPS) was reorganized into the Department for Child Safety (DCS).

Anyway, to say the least I was devastated at this change of events. There was no hint that things had changed or that the plan had changed from severance to reunification. There was no consultation with us about when would be a good time to transition the girls from our care back to their mother. The date that was chosen was one week before fall break. Not that I ever wanted them to leave, but leaving school at fall break and starting a new school at the end of fall break would have been a better transition for the girls. Nothing short of the judge changing the order would be good for us but we were at least aware things like this could happen.

There was no way that I could break this news to the girls in a detached manner and I didn’t want to make this any harder on them then I thought it would be. I asked their DCS worker to give them the news. They knew something was up by the way we acted but it wasn’t until a few days later that their DCS case worked called and asked if they wanted to go home with mom. The youngest immediately said yes while the older was definitely more conflicted between her feelings for us and her feelings for her mom.

We told them that we still loved them deeply and after consulting with their mother did give them our contact information. It was one of the toughest things I have ever done to have their case worker pick them up from our home knowing they would never return and trying all the time to put on a brave front to not make it any harder on them.

We were deeply hurt and consulted a good friend who is a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). She said the best thing to do was to contact the DCS ombudsman and file a complaint. She did tell us that complaining as hurt foster parents would likely be ignored. Instead she suggested reporting that DCS didn’t follow their own rules or allow us as foster parents to do what they trained us to do. That is to help the kids with transitions.

I filed the complaint online and a ew days later got a call from the ombudsman’s office. I told them that we are required to perform 30 hours of training on how to help kids transition. I also told them that we were not asked about timing for the transition. When they asked what they could do for me, I told them nothing unless they could reverse the court order, which I knew they couldn’t do. I told them they could give the other foster parents of the siblings of the girls we had time to help the kids transition like they trained us to do.

This complete reversal, and in my opinion abuse, by DCS caused us to take a few months off to recover. In that time we prayed and sensed that our journey with foster care was over. Little did I know that God was making space in our lives for another family issue.

While the girls never contracted us, we have seen the girls since they left. With their mom’s permission, we were able to take them for an afternoon and spend some time with them. They treated us and interacted with us as if nothing had happened. We hope and pray that they do well with their mother in the future.

Until next time…





Why God?

14 04 2013

This weekend was one of those sermons where I felt it was a message just for me. I am fairly certain that my pastor Mark Connelly at Mission Community Church didn’t write the message for me. However, God definitely used it to speak to me.

Maybe before I go too much farther, I should give you a little of my history. I don’t remember exactly when, though I am fairly certain it was before I was 13, I was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter disese. This is activity-related pain that occurs a few inches below the knee-cap.

At the ripe old age of 13, I chose to have pins inserted in my hip to keep from getting arthritis at 13. This was due to a growing issue where the socket was growing faster than the ball causing the ball of my hip to move abnormally and cause great pain.

I did have one other major knee issue while playing sports. I was about 17 when playing softball. I planted my feet, swung and apparently had a fantastic hit. I say apparently because I did not lift my back foot to rotate and managed to dislocate my knee cap and tear ligaments and tendons. I do remember being pulled up from home plate to try and hobble back to the car to get some care. That little stunt got me several weeks in a hip to ankle cast.

Fast forward 25 years or so and my knee and hip issues decided it was time to make a reappearance. First we started with cortisone injections to try and “reboot” my knee (I love how my Orthopedist was able to communicate in computer terms). This worked for awhile but in 2008 I ended up having Arthroscopy done on both knees. This helped for a few years.

With the knee pain addressed, my hip decided to start hurting me. It turns out that at least partially due to the pins that were put in when I was 13, caused the cartilage in my hip joint to wear unevenly. So in July 0f 2011 I had my right hip replaced. You come to realize just how “special” you are when your orthopedist is excited about the antiques he is going to remove. That surgery went well and I am happy to report there have been NO issues with my hip since then.

Not wanting to be left out my knees started hurting before my hip surgery and again we tried the cortisone and then rooster-comb therapy. It didn’t work. X-Rays revealed that I was almost bone on bone in both knees. This resulted in a Bi-lateral knee arthroplasty procedure in October of 2011. Two major surgeries in just a few months apart! Not something I would recommend to anyone. Not only is it a physical drain on the body but it is a mental drain wondering if you are ever going to be done recovering from surgery.

After all of this several months go by and my foot just won’t stop hurting. By this time I have had orthotics for a couple of years and even had a special plastic ankle brace. This all do to the fact that my arch is collapsing. The podiatrist tells me that I have skew foot. Which means from the front it looks as though I have a high arch and from the back it looks like I am flat footed. The pain is caused by the ligament being stretched and my heel being a little off center. So in September of 2012 I have corrective foot surgery.

That brings me to the date of this post. My foot is still in pain and sometime during my knee recovery my knee caps migrated to the outside of my joint. This means that I am looking at one or two surgeries to adjust the knee caps and who knows what for my foot.

The other night a close friend of mine was telling the stories of all the jobs he has been “let go” from. The pattern seems to be that once someone he has witnessed to at work comes to faith in Christ, he is soon let go. So, I am wondering if I am maybe supposed to witness to someone in the doctor’s office or the hospital or maybe even the physical therapist’s office. Maybe I am not getting the hint and God keeps providing opportunities.

During the sermon, Pastor Mark told of a member with an amazing story. This story was how a member of my church has been carried through unimaginable pain and suffering. That isn’t the end of the story though. In spite of having her back broken twice and the numerous complications, she is being used by God in powerful ways to server others. Based on what I heard at the sermon on Saturday, I believe God is taking me through this season of pain. Like the lady in the story, I know that I would have NEVER written this pain and these surgeries into my life story. It definitely wasn’t in MY plan for my life. Like her and her husband, I know that I have cried out to God asking why.

Her story gives me hope that God can and will use this in some way. Obviously I don’t know what that is yet. Will it be used to coax others out of complacency into service? Will it be used to help someone else as they endure a similar season of pain? I don’t know. However, I have renewed hope that God will use this in some way. I may not know how He used it until I get to heaven. I just need to keep following Christ where ever He is leading and let Him take care of the rest.

Until next time








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