Foster CARE

Putting Care back into Foster Care

Most stories and social media posts concerning #FosterCare gravitate to the dark side- the mishandled foster care system, the #political promises, stories of #exploitation, and caregivers spending funds on themselves while children barely have needs met.

We hear of children going from place to place with a garbage bag holding their belongings, #abuse by other kids and parents, of older teens running away, overdosing, or spending their adult lives in #prison.

There is a very real dark side to foster care, but there’s also a bright side, a side where darkness has been interrupted and children have discovered that it’s the little things that pop up each day that bring happiness.

My husband and I have our own personal stories of struggles and experiences that led us to help children in #crisis. Whether through school programs, assisting teenagers going through drug and alcohol rehab, #youth #ministry, or #teaching and supervising at a group home, we have seen the tears, tantrums, and questions that always surround children who don’t understand why no one wants them.

We have held onto a child that was brought back to the group home because the adoptive family decided the child wasn’t what they expected, so they returned him like a puppy at an #adoption center. We have sat with kids all night who ask why families never want to spend time with them, why their parents never call, and question what is wrong with them and why they are unworthy of #love.

Yes, this is #reality. This happens daily, and it’s a side that is often taken and exploited in the media.

Some of those days, though, are different. Some of those days are filled with laughter, sharing, and tears of #joy. These are the days that you don’t often hear about. These are the days that people claim are staged for publicity, the days that no one believes exists, because how could a child with no family be happy?

I’ll tell you how…

These children find joy in the little things, in a hug, or in someone asking them if they want two pancakes or three. They crave #love so badly that they are willing to hold onto the smallest act of kindness. They don’t always run around angry at the world, in fact, you would be surprised at how happy they can be with the things other children take for granted. The right environment, with supportive people and adults who truly want the best for them, makes a big difference.

I’d like to tell you a story that we will always remember.

One cool Christmas morning, my husband watched a little boy ride his brand-new bicycle up and down the road in front of his cottage. My husband asked him how he liked the bike. The boy looked at him and asked when he was going to have to give it back. Confused, my husband asked what he meant. He explained that he thought he would have to share the bike with the other children. My husband told him that the bike was his, and his alone. That sweet child broke down in tears, sobbing uncontrollably, because he had never had a bike of his own. After a long hug, and eventually laughter, the boy jumped back on his bike and rode around with incredible enthusiasm and a smile that took over his entire face.

This is the flip side of foster care. This is the side that many people don’t hear about.

There’s another part to this story. It’s the part that you get to experience many years down the road, when your phone rings and an adult asks if you remember him, and if your wife still makes the best pancakes ever. This is the part of the story when you find out they have a family of their own, a good job, and when tears start forming because that child who used to drive you crazy with screaming fits, and who used to run down the road cursing you and the world, calls to say thank you for never giving up. This is part that makes sense, this is the day you hope and pray will eventually come.

It is time to realize that one day these forgotten children will become adults. Who is going to guide them and show them what it means to take care of their own families? Do you really want them to rely on the example they were given by their own parents? They must know what it’s like to have someone genuinely care for them, to show them boundaries, responsibility, and what it looks like to take care of a family.

This is the reason why we need to put the CARE back into foster care.

About the Authors:
James and Angela WalshJames and Angela Walsh are the program directors at a home for girls in need in the Houston area.  Through an alliance between Imagine Foundation for Kids, Stevens and Pruett Ranch, and Azleway Children’s Services, a commitment has been made to create homes and therapeutic communities for kids who need families. The #Houston area girls ranch is the first in this venture, and is in the final stages before the doors will be opened for girls who need a family. Through intense training, education, and experienced staff, children will find the families and support they need to heal and find hope again. If you would like to help #support this cause, please consider making a #donation to any one of these foundations, any amount is greatly appreciated and needed. Thank you for taking the time to read this article, and please continue to pray for all of us as we move forward to help kids in need.
www.imaginefoundationforkids.org
www.stevensandpruettranch.com
www.azleway.org

Amazing Thanksgiving Weekend

Eagle Scout helps kids in care
You are going to love this story from Thanksgiving weekend!

Over the weekend, I was honored to attend a ceremony honoring one of my favorite kids, Davis Spangler, from Allen, Texas. I love stories of kids looking after and having a heart for other kids less fortunate.

Over two and a half years ago, I was contacted by this young man. He had been researching projects for his Eagle Scout honor. The project that caught his eye was a story in the media about foster children moving from place to place carrying all they had in trash bags. I agreed to meet Davis and his Dad. Along for the ride, were my two oldest grandchildren that were about the same age as Davis.

I remember instantly liking how passionately he felt the need to do something to help these kids! He asked if I would sponsor him on behalf of Azleway. His goal was to collect as much luggage, duffel bags, and backpacks as he could for his project and give them to the kids at Azleway. I do not think either of us knew what a daunting task that would become. Over the two year period, he would sometimes get frustrated because he had not found as much luggage as he wanted. I am sure there were times when he would have liked to quit. Thankfully, he did not quit! I received an email from Davis requesting a date for the delivery of the luggage.

I still remember when he and his Dad delivered it all to Azleway. I met them at Azleway’s Grand Prairie location. I could not believe the staggering amount of luggage packed into luggage that he had collected. That luggage did not last long in that warehouse. The minute the word was out……the luggage was moved to Tyler and handed out to the kids.

On October 21, 2016, I received an email from Davis asking if I remembered him. I replied I could never forget that sweet face. Along with the email, was an invitation for his Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony to be held at his church in Allen, Texas. I replied I would be honored to attend. When I arrived, I could not believe he was a head taller than me, and was the more mature and accomplished version of the Davis I had met in our first meeting. I awarded him a pin on behalf of Danny Tiblet’s Foster Care Movement! If you look closely to the right of his Eagle Scout badge, you will see the pin. I don’t know of a better kid or a more deserving kid for this award!

The ceremony was filled with emotion. His family had travelled from all over the country to see Davis receive his award and be called to the “Eagle’s Nest” forever and all time. By the way, his Dad is an Eagle Scout as well. I learned during the ceremony that less than two percent of all scouts become Eagle Scouts. Letters from President George Bush, his Dad, and many other dignitaries from all over the country sent certificates and letters of blessings. Quite a way to spend a night during Thanksgiving!
Azleway thanks you, Davis! The kids thank you! And, I thank you so much for all you have done on behalf of this nonprofit. I am going to keep my eye on this kid! He has a great future in store for him!
Sharon Roubinek

Vice Chairperson,  Azleway

Founder/CEO-  Imagine Foundation For Kids