Imagine this: there's a knock at the door. You open it just wide enough to see the men with badges standing there, alongside a woman you've never seen before. They ask you if your mother is home but you don't answer. You are afraid of them but you don't know why. Your young mother makes her way to the door and opens it. The woman introduces herself and immediately everything changes. Your mom is crying. The woman tells you you have to go with her. Your mom starts to cry louder and she tries to pick you up but the men in badges hold her back. You're scared. You start to cry too. The woman tries to take your hand but you don't want to go with her. You try to push her away but you can't. She picks you up and starts to walk toward the door. Through her tears your mother screams, “Please don't take my baby,” but the woman ignores her. The men hold your mother back until the woman has you out the door. You don't know where you're going, or why. You just want your mom. Why can't you stay with your mom?
Imagine the trauma that child is going through. Imagine the fear. Can you? Can you, just for a second, put yourself in their shoes and try to feel what this one little girl is feeling? If you can, Oklahoma needs your help, because thousands of children in our state have stories just like this.
I can't count the number of times someone has told me they could never be a foster parent. Unfortunately, most of the reasons given are selfish ones. I constantly hear “I couldn't give the kids back,” or “It would be too hard.” Being a foster parent is hard. There's no easier way to put it. It drains you physically, emotionally and sometimes spiritually. But it's harder for the kids. And they are the ones we should be thinking of.
There is a crisis happening right under our noses, and we need to do something about it. We can stand up and be the home they can be safe in. We can be the quality foster families our state needs for these children. There's no more time for excuses. We can no longer stand by while these children are waiting in shelters and overcrowded homes. We can't allow one more child to sleep on the floor at a DHS office while their workers frantically search for a place for them to stay! If we want to see change in our community we have to be that change. If we can't foster in our homes, we can donate supplies to foster agencies and organizations. If we have nothing to donate, we can volunteer. There is a way for everyone to get involved. Everyone can contribute to this change.
Imagine this: there's a knock at the door. You open it wide to greet a frightened little addition to your home. You make a choice at that very moment to be the person who makes her feel safe again. You make the choice to change her life forever. And you have no idea quite yet how much she will change yours.
Carrie is a stay-at-home mom of five who is blogging about her foster care experiences for MetroFamily. Learn more about her and our other bloggers here and check out all our foster care resources here.