Last week was yet another scramble as an orphanage that we visit several times a year offered two children for us to foster, seemingly out of the blue.
As recently as January we had pleaded the case for LXT, who is actually much older than he looks in this photo.
He is about ten years old, although he looks 3 or 4.
At that time he was not allowed to be fostered.
After the Lunar New Year, he apparently deteriorated and an orphanage caregiver took the initiative (very surprising but good!) to contact the director about him and a new little guy, who talked to someone else who then called our group.
The end result was that suddenly we were trying to drum up two more foster family caregivers out of the woodwork, through our network of contacts in the city.
This is easier said than done, for several reasons.
1) We try to identify people interested in fostering ahead of time, so they can have some preparation time, time to learn about common issues, etc. But they don’t actually respond with a sign of interest until the heat of the moment, in many cases.
2) The general realities of fostering, including the great uncertainties of how long will we have the child, is the child adoptable and will my family adjust to the child coming or leaving sometime in the future, are enough to dissuade many from jumping into this wild river.
3) We often have no clue about the child’s actual health situation until we lay eyes on them, at the time of pick up. Even then the workup and available information is often marginal.
4) Even if we know the child’s state of health and functional level at the orphanage, it is not an accurate indicator of how the child will do in a home setting. Although we are optimistic that many will do well, some have very severe neurological disabilities. It is not easy to predict who will be extremely resilient and who will need lots of labor of love.
Anyway, back to the story.
We did manage to line up two households who have been willing to take the children for at least the first month.
Two women who both have fostered before:
The American woman fostered a little guy until he was adopted by her parents in the US!
The Chinese woman is still fostering an older girl who uses a wheelchair and has cerebral palsy.
They are both on my list of people I admire.
In the first couple weeks we should have a more realistic assessment of the children’s ongoing needs and can give a clearer picture (hopefully!) to the long term families who are yet to be identified!
It is truly amazing.
Despite local factors (most of which I have no clue about) which dampen the orphanage’s willingness for children to be fostered, we get these surprises placed in our laps!
And as I well know, even a surprise addition to the family is still an indescribable joy.