By Jenn Morris
Eleven years ago, I met an amazing guy. I mean, amazing! He first wooed me with a mean game of bowling. He was cute, funny, and did I mention cute?
After a few weeks of dating, I knew he was the total package. He worked hard and was dedicated to his friends and family. This was a guy had it all together.
Not long into our relationship, he explained to me that he was adopted. And I learned that the guy who appeared to have it all together, at one time, did not.
He told me about growing up in his biological home, and about when he went to live with the Morris’ family as a teen. He talked about having to catch up in school. His habit of hording canned food under his bed at the Morris’ house. What it was like to sit down with a family at a dinner table for the first time. He thought that was just made up stuff on T.V.
After we got married, we talked of having a family immediately. We always knew we would be foster parents. We just didn’t know when.
The years went by, Steve owning his own business, and me, working as a police officer. We had two biological children along the way. Life seemed pretty complete.
But, as part of my job, I took children into protective custody. I regularly saw the huge need for foster families. I’ll never forget dropping kids off at the shelter, praying that the system I was placing them into, wouldn’t be worse than what I was taking them out of. It was heartbreaking.
We talked about becoming foster parents, but the time never seemed right. Our biological children were too young. We didn’t have enough time. Our house wasn’t big enough. The list went on.
Finally, we couldn’t ignore the tug on our hearts any longer. December of last year, we signed up to take in children from the shelter for Christmas. A few weeks before Christmas, we received a call that they were suspending the program, and we not be providing Christmas for any foster children.
I was frustrated, but as Steve and I talked, it became crystal clear now was the time to start the process of becoming a foster family. So, early this year, we jumped right in.
We are now a family that elicits stares and questions everywhere we go. Questions like, “Did you have all of them?” “When are they going home?” “Are you adopting them?” I have been asked the most awkward questions, by complete strangers.
But, we wouldn’t change a thing. On the days I am at the end of my rope, wrangling children and chaos, something happens to remind me that this life of foster care is our legacy. You see, we are certain that one family can make a massive impact in the life of a child. My husband is a walking testament to that.
He should have been a statistic. He should have dropped out of high school. He shouldn’t have ever served in the Marine Corps and traveled the world. He should’ve never graduated from college. He shouldn’t have an awesome career. He shouldn’t be an amazing husband and dad.
But he is, because one family took a chance on him. They took a chance to love someone who didn’t exactly know how to love back. And he learned to love well.
So, because of that, we foster on. Even on the hard days.
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