Friday, September 2, 2016


I am not sure why this has been on my mind so much lately, but when I can't get something off of my mind, I usually blog about it.  Sometimes, it turns out well....sometimes, it turns out not so well.  This one has the potential to go either way.  Today, I am going to write about what I think it means to be an advocate. 



  1. a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy:
    "he was an untiring advocate of economic reform"
    synonyms: champion · upholder · supporter · backer · promoter ·
You will see the definition of advocate listed above.  You will also notice some synonyms listed below such as: champion, upholder, supporter, backer, and promoter. 

As foster parents, we are advocates for these kids.  We support and a lot of times publicly back what we believe in.  But here is where I am noticing some disconnect.  There is no part 2 to this definition that says....."and then all policy that the advocate is advocating for will be changed in their favor." or "the advocate will be fully satisfied that everything will change for the better and in their favor."  That is strangely missing.  But, what I have noticed is that when things do not go our way, we tend to speak out in a different manner.  We seem to have forgotten what we were originally advocating for!  Confused?  Stick with me.

Too often, situations do not go the way we think they should in the foster care world.  We may have a child and we KNOW that going back to family will not be a walk in the park.  We have witnessed the parent say and do things that we simply do not agree with.  So, as their advocate, we do everything we should.  We document, we email, we print said email, we call, we record said call (kidding) and then we sit back and pour a Spark, or a glass of whatever makes you happy, and relax thinking of a job well done.  And then the child goes home.  To the family.  That you just wrote about.  And called about.  And documented about.  What in the world?  Where did you go wrong?  What detail did you leave off?  Surely, someone made a mistake.

But, no....the child goes home to live a life you could never imagine in a million years and you are wondering why you ever signed up for this in the first place.  Slowly begins the shift from 'full time advocate' to 'fair weather advocate'.  You no longer vocalize the needs of the child, but the incompetency of DHS.  You become a new type of advocate.  One who will stop at nothing to make sure everyone knows how bad a certain caseworker is.  How terrible the system is.  And so forth and so forth.  Somewhere along the way, you become mad and find fault with everyone involved.  All the while, the fact that you have limited time and influence with this child is secondary. 

Trust me, this journey is HARD.  I've had moms accuse me of allowing their child to fall and get hurt, I have had a worker chew me out because she said I was trying to do her job, I have cleaned my house from top to bottom only to have a no show.  I have asked for clothing vouchers until I am blue in the face only to go purchase/borrow the items myself.  I have sent babies home that I knew were going to live a really, hard life. 

But, through it all, I have had to rely on a support system that is great but a God who is even greater.  I have had to remove myself so many times and realize, that I am the advocate for the child.  Does that mean change needs to happen?  Absolutely.  Should I work hard to be a part of the change?  Yes.  Will change happen by closing my home or never opening because I don't want to deal with the ugly?  No.

I am currently reading through the Old Testament in my Bible readings.  More specifically Leviticus and Numbers.  Ouch.  Talk about hard and confusing.  Now, I have an advantage.  I have read ahead and know what happens down the road so I will not stop reading.  I know that at some point I will read about the God of grace and mercy.  In some small way, fostering is a lot like this.  There are days I am so confused by what I hear or see from the people involved.  I do not understand and honestly, some of it makes me mad.  But, I will not give up and will press on to the end.....where I can imagine there is hope, grace and mercy waiting on the other side.