Today’s blog and the blog to follow tomorrow will take a look at the Foster Parenting System. Today’s blog is by Tammy Woirhaye and tomorrow’s is by Tammy Burris-Peterman.
Tammy Woirhaye and her husband, Bruce, recently became Foster Parents. Tammy Burris-Peterman spent time as a child in the Foster System. Each Tammy brings a different perspective, one of provider and one of recipient.
Courtesy of Tammy Woirhaye, here’s an explanation of why she chose to become a Foster Parent. Thanks Tammy!
Puzzled looks and confusion – they represent “Why would you want to do that?” I will tell you why. I have been tugged on for the last seven or eight years, and sometimes so intense that I almost said “yes” but I always had excuses to say “no.” Several months ago, I began walking in and out of empty rooms in my house and began to ask God “What is my purpose? I know I need to do more to love others.” Well, the tugging began once again and this time, I didn’t have an excuse. I truly felt that I needed to answer “yes, I will be a foster parent.” I no longer could say things like… I have little kids of my own and they come first, I don’t have enough space, I don’t have enough time, I can’t handle foster kids – after all, my house is emptying, my kids are no longer little, I had two empty bedrooms, and those foster kids were God’s children. I felt confident that God had equipped me with everything I needed, and had put loving friends and family in my life so that my husband and I could be used to help others in need. Once I found out the STARS training classes were being held right here in Clinton, I knew God meant business! After talking with our children, family and close friends, I decided immediately I was ready. As with many things, it took some lengthy discussions with my husband but he also agreed and we began STARS training.
STARS training is one of the most overwhelming, tear jerking, intense, valuable training programs I have ever been involved in. Three hours every Monday evening for nine weeks, plus home visits seemed overwhelming. Not to mention that midway through the classes, we had already been asked about three different placements of children. We said no to the first two and yes to the third – a 10-year old boy and 12-year old girl. They have been with us for three weeks, and I know we would have been overwhelmed without the training. Bruce and I are both practicing much of what we learned from the experts. Most importantly, we are building loving relationships with both of them. These children are not “damaged goods” – they are children who have not had the same life experiences as my own children have and have not had the same opportunity to learn. They are victims that need to become survivors. Do they act differently? Yes, and they have good reasons to. Are they scared and sad? Yes, and they have good reasons to be. Do they need a chance? Yes, more than ever! Do they have dreams? Yes, and they need to be encouraged to pursue them!
Many people look at me puzzled when I tell them what we are doing. They simply don’t understand why we would want to be foster parents. I just think to myself “why not?”
I love my dogs, but isn’t it amazing how much time, money and effort people are willing to sacrifice to foster and adopt dogs, but yet there are so many children out there who need to be fostered and adopted. Where are our priorities? I know that God gives all of us gifts to be used and if your gift is loving children, especially those that are sometimes hard to deal with, then maybe God equipped you! But, I will say that we didn’t do this on a whim and definitely didn’t choose to do it for the money, it is something that I prayed and prayed and prayed about and still wanted to say… “Really, God, are you sure???”
So, my time is well spent each and every day. Even though there is extra laundry, less time for facebook and television, more grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments, therapy appointments, and so on and so on, it is worth it just to know that I am letting God use my hands, my feet, my mouth, and my family to take care of his orphans.