We live in a fast, at our fingertips kind of world. Drive-thrus, instant books, t.v. and movies on demand, we can record any show we want and watch it any time, learn how-to on YouTube or Pinterest (don’t have to wait to chat with that friendly Home Depot employee). We can reach friends in other countries immediately and for free, heck you can SEE them for free via Skype or FaceTime instantly, texting, pay bills online or via cellphone, check your bank account. There are instant meals, photos of grandchildren, pics of everyones kids all the time via Facebook, groceries (anything from swanky Wal-Mart On The Go). You don’t have to go to stores anymore, order online – want a water bottle, tennis racket, crib – you can have it in a day or two, open your front door and get it while wearing your yoga pants.
Problem is, with foster care and adoption, things don’t happen quickly. At all.
Children are abused and neglected and the families who take them in expect immediate change, or at least change in a few months. We think if we put in the work, there should be a positive outcome, and quick. We have other things to do and we want to move on.
Our “instant gratification” mentality gets in the way of reality.
We also live in a society of quitters. Harsh, I know, but read what Jon Acuff has to say in his book, Quitter.
“I used to think I was unique, that perhaps I had a problem with staying at one job for a long time. It turns out I am extremely common. A recent survey revealed that eighty-four percent of employees plan to look for a new job this year. Furthermore, the average tenure at a job is dramatically changing from generation to generation. A U.S. Department of Labor study revealed that the median tenure for the fifty-five to sixty-four-year-old category is ten years. For the twenty-five to thirty-four-year-old category, the average tenure is only 3.1 years. You and I will quit lots and lots of jobs.”
Thing is, quitting goes far beyond careers, it reaches its tentacles into our private lives.
Don’t like your child’s teacher, move them to another class. Don’t like your child’s school? Change that too. Don’t like the coach, let your child quit the baseball team. Your dog is tearing up your house? Give him away and get a new one. (Six to eight million dogs and cats enter animals shelters each year.) Your spouse just not fitting into your idea of where your life was headed? Trade them in. This quitting mentality creeps into the minds of those doing foster care and adoption.
I get it, it’s hard. It’s damn hard. I’ve said, “I can’t do this,” words said in anger, frustration, exhaustion, and bitter dismay. But guess what? I did it. We did it.
I know it’s like climbing a monumental, flat, slick rock face without the right climbing gear. I know you’re tired, worn, defeated. But our focus has to be these kids – the ones we brought into our home because we knew we could do it. We do it for the kids we promised to protect, to love.
We do it because everyone else quit on them, and we can’t. We won’t.
We won’t be quitters. We will show our children we love them no matter what. They don’t have the tools to fight their battles, inside or out, so we’ll battle for them and with them. We won’t be selfish, we will be selfless, remembering a child is a life, a life worth fighting for.
And when you get to the end of the real battles, you can look back and say, “I did it!” When your friend talks about her need for antidepressants because she birthed two kids in thirteen months, you can smile big, and know that you’re the one who did the hard work. You stuck it out, and even though your kids may not fall at your feet and thank you – because they won’t – you know in your heart you did your best, much better than you thought you could.
*To all the Facebook friends who “instantly” helped me with the immediate gratification list, thank you!
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