By Kelly Carr
My friends Scott and Robyn Duebber have been foster parents for several years. Scott offered a glimpse into fostering that I asked him to share with The Lookout:
Our foster sons have been with us for about a year and a half. One came at age 6, and now he’s 7. The other came before turning 2, and now he’s 3.
We had trouble getting the older boy to wake up before noon at first. Slowly he adjusted. Part of the problem was that he couldn’t get to sleep at night. Maybe it was his routine to stay up late or it was trauma and fear from being pulled from one family and placed into another—probably both. He’d lay in bed, fidgeting, sometimes going crazy. Some nights I wonder if he slept at all.
Trauma. Broken families. This stuff is hard.
It’s 5:00 a.m., and I wake up, hearing something.
That poor kid is laying in his bed, awake, quietly crying. That’s horrible. He’s just a little kid. He should be sleeping. How long has he been up, how long has he been crying, and is there any shot he’s going to fall back asleep on his own? I have no answers.
I just know it’s 5 a.m. and a little boy is crying, and that’s not fair.
He’s moving to a new family tomorrow. His mom has failed at doing what she needs to do to get him back. And for a variety of reasons we have decided not to adopt him. There are other circumstances that I won’t even hint at hinting at.
The poor kid. He’s been through so much at age 7 that no one should ever go through. After 500-some nights sleeping in that bed, tonight will be the last time. And he knows it. And he’s scared. Because of course he’s scared.
I haven’t been the best dad to him that I could be. I wanted to. But I’ve fallen short. I yelled at him when he was out of control and misbehaving when I should’ve been patient. I didn’t hug him enough. That kid wants to be hugged, and I didn’t hug him enough. I tried, but I didn’t try as hard as I should’ve.
Tomorrow morning we’re going to leave him and all his stuff at a new house. New parents. New school. Then we’ll come home. Without him. And we’ll move on, and we’ll be OK, and he’ll be OK, and God’s in control.
And now I’ve been crying for the last 45 minutes too.
My Fault Too
I don’t want to stop crying. Because crying feels appropriate. I want this placement to be over, and I want my life back, but it wouldn’t be OK for everything to suddenly go back to normal and not also feel tons of pain and guilt about all of this.
Because it’s not just the birth parents’ fault. It’s not just the social services system. It’s not just our society’s fault. It’s not just drugs and sex offenders and the decline of the nuclear family and everything else.
It’s me. I failed too. It’s not just everyone else’s fault. It’s mine. Not society. Not television. Not Adam or Eve. Me. I’m responsible for this.
I believe that God is going to make everything right. I believe he’s doing that. Even now, as that poor boy is crying in his bed before dawn because he’s scared to move again, to start over, to leave another family—even now I believe God is making all things right. But I need to focus on me and my role in this.
I’m so sorry, God. I’m sorry that I’ve failed. I’m sorry, little boy, for the pain and the fear and the rejection that I’m guessing you feel right now. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for how this is.
This is not how it should be, God. Why? Why does it have to be like this? I trust you. But I don’t understand.
By Scott Duebber