By Ann Elizabeth McInvale
The possibility of fostering didn’t become real to me until I started coming to BCOC in 2012. I met Linda Martin and knew I wanted to know more about her journey and how she was doing it. I was aware of my gifts and slowly began to realize that fostering was something I truly felt called to. Contrary to what many people think, the purpose of foster care is not adoption. The primary goal of foster care is to reunite children with their birth families. However, adoption can be a beautiful outcome in the pursuit to give a child permanency. Being a foster parent means advocating for children and what is in their best interest. I learned quickly that this is a difficult and holy calling.
Being a foster parent has taught me to love in ways I didn’t know that I could. This journey has forced me to be vulnerable, and let those closest to me walk alongside me and hold my hand when I can’t do it alone. I have willingly let down walls and let my village, this village at BCOC, carry me through heartbreak and tears. I have pulled up my big girl panties and loved again, even after that first unexpected goodbye left me empty and broken. You helped me put back the pieces and find my strength to keep going. I have learned to hope in a system that is so broken and have felt empowered to work for change.
There are currently about 6,279 children in foster care in the state of Alabama. There are roughly 2,200 licensed foster homes. The majority of children in foster care are in Jefferson County. Some of these children come into care for just a few days and other for years. Some are reunited with family while others age out of the system or find permanency through adoption. Their reasons for being in care are different, but they all come to us wanting and needing to feel safe and loved. I am convinced that the growing number of foster families at BCOC is a result of how well this church loves. Keep loving.
Ways you can pray for us:
- Pray that we will be the advocate that each child needs.
- Pray for patience when things don’t go the way we think they should.
- Pray for emotional healing when our hearts break after a final goodbye.
- Pray that we will have the courage and self-awareness to say yes or no when we get a placement call.
- If the situation allows, pray for healthy relationships with birth families.
- Pray for thoughtful and productive communication between foster parents, social workers, GAL’s, and others directly involved in each case.