The Foster Care Crisis:: Yesterday Is Not an Option

I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.
– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

I have always identified with Alice. She got lost in a story and then kept eating and drinking everything she could find hoping that it would solve her plight. I feel you, Alice.

But just like our confused heroine, I can never go back to yesterday. Even if I wanted to, I can’t erase the streams of knowledge. I can never un-know the truths that have come to light. Page after page of faces that stare into a piece of your soul. I will never not know about the foster care crisis.

Not a Saint

The Foster Care Crisis:: Yesterday Is Not an Option

Fostering is not very everyone—just to be clear. Some days, it’s not even for me. We’ve questioned ourselves a thousand and one times if we are doing the right thing. Did we really volunteer for this? What did we get ourselves into?

No, fostering is not for everyone. It’s not for saints or even a “very special person.” For us, it was knowing just enough to not be able to turn away.

Inevitably, a call comes. The details twist my insides and emotion pours out of me and I look at my husband. We already know, we’re going to say yes—again.

Just Another Yes

The Foster Care Crisis:: Yesterday Is Not an OptionAnd that’s really what foster care is at its core. It’s a series of yeses. You just say yes to the next thing, until you can’t.

Yes, I’ll attend a meeting.

Yes, I’ll commit to hours of training.

Yes, I’ll allow next-level invasiveness.

Yes, come into my house and deem it worthy {or not}.

Yes, I’ll child-proof everything, and change things, and lock up my Advil.

Yes, we will wait.

Yes, they can come.

Yes, we will love them with every fiber of our being.

Yes, we will figure out a way to work that in.

Yes, we will prepare them to say goodbye.

And a hundred more in between. There will come a time when you have to say “no,” and it will crush you. You will mourn the children that don’t come. You will second guess half of your answers but that’s a natural piece of parenting, right?

It Will Wreck You

The Foster Care Crisis:: Yesterday Is Not an OptionBut, that’s the easy part. The part that keeps you up at night is the faces. The ones that beg for a family. That cry because they have spent another Christmas without a family. The boy who just wants to be able to call someone his mom. The daughter who wants to have someone to go to the daddy-daughter dance with, like the other girls in her class.

The children that clutch your arms and cry and shake because they can’t discern between their past and the present they so badly desire.

The part that will wreck you is loving a child so deeply they are embedded in your being, but putting on a brave face because they get to go back to their family. And when they’ve done the hard work, it is a good thing—a thing that can be celebrated. But sometimes? Sometimes you are unsure, and it’s scary.

But the heart has a funny way of healing. And then, before you know it, the next yes comes.

Face of the Foster Care Crisis

No friend, like Alice, I can’t go back to yesterday. I’m not the person I was then. I have seen too much. I have learned information and seen faces that won’t go away.

Pieces of me have been broken and clumsily taped back together.

I have seen the other side of the foster care crisis- the face of it, and it loves unicorns. It plays in bubble baths, shrieks in sprinklers, clings to stuffed animals, and spins until it falls. It has tantrums and cries for seemingly no reason. The face on the other side of this hurts with unimaginable pain. And desires to love with a fierceness that is locked away by fear.

I’m not who I was. And even though it hurts, and even through the streams of tears, we already know—I’m still going to say yes.  

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Kirsten C
Kirsten C. was born and raised in Texas Hill Country. After becoming a hopelessly devoted Bobcat and earning a degree in Mass Communications-Public Relations at Texas State University, she was wooed by the never-ending culinary options and vibrant street art of Houston and became a transplant. By day she is a marketing enthusiast for a downtown engineering firm, and by night, an over-the-top {and unashamed} dog mom. She and her husband William are licensed foster parents—advocating for children and families—who hope to one day grow their family through adoption. You can follow their unruly journey on their blog, Cornell Chaos. When she’s not trying a new restaurant, playing behind the lens of a Cannon, piddling in the yard, or scouring markets for hidden gems, Kirsten is often found teaching student ministry through Kingsland Baptist Church or escaping at a local coffee spot.


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