There never seem to be enough foster home places for the children who need them. We have been a foster family since the late 1960’s and the situation has gotten worse.  Hardly a weekend goes by that I don’t get a call or an email asking if we can take a child, or pick from a list.  Typically they are teenagers waiting to get into drug treatment or kids who can’t get along at home.  My heart goes out to each and every one, but we simply cannot take them all.

About a month ago we got a call late on a Friday afternoon from another county (they seem to find our number) asking if we could take an angry three year old. No problem, I thought, but we were headed to our place in Ocean Shores.  I was told they could work with that, they would take him to us at Ocean Shores.  He arrived about nine at night, exhausted but still capable of a good scream before settling into bed.  He had been through a traumatic experience and was either very frightened or very angry.  Next morning he shrieked and screamed, kicked and hit.  We gave him his space and encouraged him to join our activities.  He was resistive of every change, just telling him it was time to eat would cause shrieks of “I don’t want to!” at full volume. He was angry all right, but gradually things calmed down.  We had committed to taking him for only the weekend but by Sunday night we began to think we might provide a temporary home for him until he and his sisters and brothers could be returned home.

I was starting my last weeks of employment by the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, however, and I knew if he could not be in day care it wasn’t going to work. The first day in day care he scratched one child and bit another, but the day care folks were willing to work with him!!   Things continued to improve at home when his social worker told us about his 12 year old brother.  She thought it would be good for the boys to be together.  The brother  had none of the angry behaviors and we agreed to give it a try.  He is a calm and cheerful boy, but his arrival upset the little guy who was now crying whenever he had to be away from his brother.

A week later, Friday, we got a call asking us to take a 17 year old girl with her 8 month old baby. Again, we committed just for the weekend.  She is a good mom and very attentive to the baby. And Seneca thinks that the little bald baby is wonderful, and he has a terrific giggle.

So suddenly we are a family of six kids. With foster children we never know from day to day how long  they will need a place.  This year we have cared for a total of 24 children. One of the things that keeps us going is seeing the changes that usually do occur in kids as they live in a more stable environment.

We took four, but I had to say “no” to about 10 children during the past month.

Yes, there is a need for foster families, for kids of all ages. Please help us spread the word!