WHEN “SETTING THE LONELY IN FAMILIES” STARTS WITH FACEBOOK
If you have met Deana Scott, the first thing you’ll discover is that she is a very compassionate woman. The second thing you’ll discover is that she is very capable. Very.
I met Deana because I had lost my infant carrier. For those who don’t foster infants, let me educate you. An infant carrier is like a strait jacket for moms. The baby is comfy and cozy, but the mom is immobilized by a web fabric straps. Since “strait jackets for moms” are not high-ticket items among thieves, losing them takes skill. So, I put a request for a used one on Facebook. Almost immediately I got a response from Deana Scott. I wasn’t sure if she was genuine when she gave me the “come on over and take mine” response, but my foster baby was 2 months old and I was desperate for baby stuff.
I considered foster parents’ homes to be “holy ground”, so I was a bit anxious to meet up in hers. Frankly, I didn’t know many foster moms at all, so if there was foster “protocol”, it was foreign to me, therefore I resolved to be polite, but quick.
To my delight, I was invited inside to sit and talk. I learned about her story and her journey in fostering. I soon realized I was in the presence of someone I wanted to be friends with. Deana takes her faith serious. She has that “James” kind of attitude: talk less, do more. I loved her honesty and her humor!
To my utter delight I found a woman who journeyed the same path I did and was willing to share any tips she learned along the way. Her path started off as mine. It was sunny and hopeful with lots of friends helping and cheering along the sidelines of her call to care for “cute little” orphans in their “cute little” distress.
But somewhere down the road… enter a difficult placement, enter insensitive remarks, enter unmet expectations by friends, enter confusion about the church’s responsibility… Deana found herself in a very lonely place with secondhand trauma. She was confident of God’s call to foster when she entered the journey, but now was asking herself and God, “How did I get here?’ And, ‘How do I get out?” But the one question that troubled her the most was, “What happened to all my friends? That hurt the most.
Deana is painfully transparent about the details of a call she knew was from God but was threatening to destroy her marriage and isolate her from the people she loved. That’s what makes her a powerful voice and compassionate mentor in the world of fostering.
It is often quoted that God puts the lonely in families (Psalm 68:16). This, we assume, to be a promise for orphans, but we rarely apply it to our capable selves. Our connection to “family” matters to God. Our call to care, requires a personal place to call “home”. Loneliness is not good for any of God’s children, not just the orphaned or widowed.
Struggling, Deana happened to comment on a Facebook message that Betsey Bell had seen. “We need to get together”, was Betsey’s response. This was the invitation that turned Deana’s perspective and call around and set her lonely self, quite literally, in a “new family”.
She told me the “teas” saved her. And I know what she means. Though many applaud foster parents, few can understand the daily discouragement. Though many offer to help, very few know how. So, finding a “tearoom” of women who spoke “foster mom” was like finding life on Mars! She was communicating with friends in a language that only few could speak and less could understand. This is where God set her in a “family” and re-honed her skills to make a bigger impact in the lives of kids.
If you’ve been on the Commission127 Facebook site, you probably know Deana. This is where her skills are most evident. She is good at connecting people, solving problems, and making avenues for meaningful fellowship through playdates, teas and other events. This is because she knows first-hand what it is like to be alone. This is because she knows, God wants us to do the job of fostering, together, as a family.