I went to a missionary farewell at my old ward today. It was fun to see old friends and catch up on their lives. One family sticks out in my mind. The father was just released as a singles’ ward bishop. He and his wife have raised several children of multi-races and ethnic backgrounds. While the parents (I’ll call Bob and Mary) have always been stalwart members of the church, their children are anything but stalwart.
One daughter (I’ll call Terri) had a child out of wedlock, and that boy lives with his grandparents, Bob and Mary, instead of his mother Terri who lives just 3 houses away. He is a fine young man, and plans to put his papers for his mission around the end of the year. Terri has two other children from a different father that she divorced a few years ago. Her middle son (Kevin) is the same age as my son, and the two have loved playing together.
Terri is living with her boyfriend (Jim), who just moved here from Florida. I asked how Terri and her boyfriend are doing. Bob told me that Jim is taking the missionary discussions, but seems to be in no hurry to marry Terri. Jim has been a very good influence on Kevin, and Jim is a good man. Bob and Mary have tried to be good examples, and hope that Jim and Terri will join the church and get married.
It got me thinking about foster parents in general. My sister has been a foster parent in Colorado twice. In the first case, they had a young girl whose mother had a drug problem. As part of the court-ordered sentencing the mother’s daughter was put into foster care, and my sister raised her for about a year or two. The mother completed drug counseling, and got custody of her daughter back. My sister still sees mother and daughter on occasion.
The second case was similar, but because the mother did not complete her drug probation successfully, the state take custody away of the mother, and my sister ended up adopting the little girl. Both little girls have been challenging to raise, and my sister is well aware that this child may follow her biological mother’s examples of bad choices, drugs, and teen pregnancy. This little girl has behavioral issues, but seems to be behaving better under my sister’s care. God bless my sister for taking on a challenge that I am not prepared to deal with.
On the other side of my family, my wife’s brother and his wife have been temporary foster parents of older teens. They didn’t describe any horror stories, but a year or two after one of their foster children turned 18 and moved out on his own, he was involved in an aggravated kidnapping of two women in a bizarre high speed chase through multiple counties. (It was on the local news.) Thank God nobody in their family was hurt by this crazy foster child.
I thank God for foster parents. I know that they are a blessing to society, and I know that they put up with a lot of grief from children raised in bad homes. Sometimes I feel bad that I don’t do more to help society, but I just don’t feel I have the personality to be successful as a foster parent. What are your thoughts?