Her mom & dad were around but unable to take care of her. Their priorities looked more like partying and drugs, not six kids. Allie* and her five younger siblings lived with their grandparents. When she was twelve years old, her grandparents passed away within hours of each other in their sleep. Unsure of what to do, Allie* went on with the day and got the kids ready for school and on their way for two days. Someone finally realized that something wasn’t right and they called the authorities. The Department of Family & Children Services detained all six children and soon after their grandparents were buried.
In an attempt to keep all of the children together, they were sent to live with a maternal aunt and uncle. Allie* had some serious issues with her aunt and went to live with her great aunt and uncle. Two years later they passed away and she was sent back to her maternal aunt’s with her siblings. The relationship was not a good one and consisted of mostly fighting, disruptions, and run away incidences. Allie* made contact with her paternal grandmother and saw a way out of all of this. Her grandmother petitioned the court for temporary custody and the judge granted. Her house was farther away than Allie* realized and she was unable to go to the same school, unable to see her friends, and didn’t have a way to get where she wanted when she wanted. She was so unhappy and didn’t know what stability looked like so all she knew was to run. Allie* was there for about a month before she ran away from her grandmother and made it to her dad. Her dad was renting a single room from a 35-year-old male friend which is where Allie* ended up staying. In the eyes of the Department of Juvenile Justice she was still considered as runaway status and when they caught up with her, the case worker was told by someone that she may be pregnant.
The Department of Family and Children Services became involved again because the alleged father of the child was believed to be the 35-year-old man that Allie’s* dad rented the room from. After weeks of lying and prying she finally submitted to taking a pregnancy test that came back positive. Fifteen years old, with no proper home, no stability, alone, and now pregnant. As her social worker, it broke my heart to realize that I was the ONLY person she trusted enough to talk to. She had no family, no friends to understand, and she didn’t trust her case workers. She claimed to be in love with this man. Today, sixteen year old Allie* and her almost one year old are both in foster care because all family ties have been destroyed and she has nowhere to go. If she had a foster family who loved her deeply, a foster family who cared for her hurt and her past, things could look very different in her life.
Allie* is one of many children in the CSRA who are left alone or abandoned by family. These issues of abandonment lead to reactions of anger and rebellion. Kids in foster care are dealing with much more than we can imagine and they bring that into our homes when we let them in. Foster parenting requires patience, compassion, and consistency. This is hard work. It’s not butterflies and smiley faces. It’s not just doing “a good thing for the least of these.”It is an investment—for a month, for three years, for a lifetime, whatever He calls you to. This is eternal, kingdom work. The best news is: God doesn’t call us to have all the right answers or to do everything perfectly. He equips us by giving us His Spirit and His Word. At the end of the day, when your placement period ends, He says, “Well done my good and FAITHFUL servant.” That’s all. We are praying that many more would be faithful to the command we are given to care for the orphan, and take steps of faith and obedience to see God work through their lives.
With that being said, know this:
- It will not be easy. (Luke 9:23)
- It WILL be worth it. (Galatians 6:9)
- You can’t see everything. (2 Corinthians 4:18)
- God is sovereign – over the children in your home, where they are now and where they will go after.
- You are never alone. (Psalm 46:1)
If you are interested in fostering, helping a foster family, or adopting please join us on February 12 from 4pm-6pm in the Loft at Warren. Please click here to register.
*Child’s name has been changed for her protection.
— Shelby Dodd