As I’m in full vacation mode. I notice Emily intently reading something on her phone, which surprises me because we are out of the country and there is terrible cell service in our area. After a moment she looks up at me and says, “Chris, take a look at this text.” The message is from our foster care licensing agent. It reads:
“Sorry to bother you on vacation. We just had a sibling group of four girls come into care, ages 1, 4, 6, 8. The children’s mother has passed away and now their grandpa, their guardian, is in the hospital dying. Can you help?” I look up at Emily noticing tears in her eyes. She pleads, “Chris, we’ve got to do something. We’ve got to take these girls.”
If you know Emily, you know she tends to lead with her heart rather than her head, which is where I come in! I am the voice of reason. As much as I love being a foster dad I had to put my foot down, or as I like to say I had to put my tire down.
“Emily, we need to think long and hard before taking in FOUR kids. We can’t just make a snap decision. We already have a 3 year old boy with behavioral issues in our care. 5 kids would be beyond challenging.” I wait for Emily to nod in agreement, to acknowledge I’m right, which I always am. A man can dream, right? Lol 😂
But instead she throws me a curve ball she says, “Chris, how can we say, “No” when you know they need us?”
“Emily, are you aware that YOU will have to take care of ALL of us? Grocery shop for 7. Cook 7 meals. Get 7 people up in the morning. Chauffeur 7. As well as take care of our dog? And that’s just for starters. Not to mention most of our family lives in Iowa, and we live in Florida. The guilt I would feel when you need a break or get overwhelmed. It will put enormous amounts of stress on our relationship and seriously impact how much quality time we spend together. Also, we’re only 3 ½ months away from our wedding and we still have a lot of planning to do.
Well, I think you know where this story is going. In case you were wondering this is how all of our fostering conversations go. A few days later on December 26, just the day after Christmas the girls arrived with one backpack, shared between the 4 of them.