|Sara lives in New York state and is old order Mennonite, she and her husband have been foster parents for many years and have taken in all children regardless of their disabilities. This is Sara's first post on Amish Stories.|
If you should have any questions for Sara please ask them in this post and I will try and make sure she receives them. Richard
My husband and I have been Foster Parents for over thirty years. Some of the children have come for a night or two while a parent or relative came in from out of state. While others have come into our home as babies, children, teenagers and have stayed with us until they were full grown. Most of those that have come and stayed for a few years got adopted into our family.
We have five natural children and eight we have adopted. Still many more children have come through our doors and left-some to return again. Over the years we have tried to keep track of all these children and most of them we have. We consider every child that God has sent across our doorway as a gift from Him-even if for a just a day or two. He had a reason for sending them to our home. We may not know the reason-but God had one.
As far as Amish or Old Order Mennonites being mean to a child-we have never seen that in our area. In our area we have seen many Amish people that have natural handicapped children and I have never seen anyone handle or treat them badly. But this doesn't mean that there aren't people: Amish or Old Order Mennonite or Englishers who do treat handicapped people mean or unjustly.There are all different kinds of people in this world.
If they are Foster Parents, that treated children badly handicapped or not-they would not last long in the Foster Parents. We have strict rules and regulations we must abide by. Also at anytime a person from the State can come into our home and inspect it unannounced. Old Order Mennonite and Amish have views that are different than some other people. We feel that each child should find it's own potential-no matter how physical or mental their handicap.
God has given each child a purpose on this earth and it is our job to find it and encourage it. Our natural children and those we adopt go to the Old Order Mennonite School. Those we are fostering go to the public school. Both our school and public school provide extra help with special children in school-children that might need more help than other children. We also encourage and help them at home with school work.
This is to see them go as far as they can in their education. In Old Order Mennonite school-education goes to the eight grade. In public school it goes to the 12th grade and even college. Also, we have chores around our farm that each child can do. Maybe it's just setting tables, doing dishes, or bringing down clothes for laundry. Some of the girls in our home assist in cooking and baking for our meals, house cleaning, sewing and more.. Some of the boys milk cows, feed the animals, plant and harvest the crops and more. Each child is encouraged.
Many of the children have problems when they come into our home. Parents can't handle them. There parents have abused them. Parents are in prison. Other places they have been - can't handle them anymore. Both parents have passed on (died) and more reasons. It is hard for children to have their whole lives changed like that. We see each child as fresh, new to us. It is our place to give them a home-a real home where they are loved, fed, cared for, disciplined and trained to go on. We also teach the word of the Lord. Some children never knew God or a Bible until they came into our house.
Also we see to any medical attention they need. Some need medical, and some mental help, but they get it. All children get a physical before they go into a Foster Home. The night Jean took in Michael's friend-the friend went to the hospital for a physical to make sure he wasn't sick, injured or abused. Of course he wasn't-but some children are. Four times a year, each Foster Child has to go through a physical to check their condition. Most of the times it is at a doctor, but as Michael's friend had to go in the night-he was taken to the hospital before he went to Jean's.
We give medicine to the children that need it, physical exercise to those that need it, fix special foods if necessary and more. In all the years we have had children-we never sent one back to Foster Parents Office because we couldn't handle him/her. We had some children that were harder than others, but we wouldn't turn any of them down. Unfortunately three of the children have passed on. Most are grown, have jobs, are married and have children of their own.
They laugh and say: "Now we know what you went through." Some of the children will be in our home for the rest of our lives or theirs. We have an agreement with our oldest daughter, who was a Foster Child-we adopted and her husband that if anything happens to my husband and I, they will take the children that are in our home. Some of the "children" are adults but their minds are of a child's.
I could go on for hours talking about the Foster Children. My husband and I have never regretted being Foster Parents. If it is oked, maybe I can do another post sometime telling of some of the children that we had and what became of them.
God Loves His Children, Sara