I’ve been thinking about, and trying to write this blog post now for almost 2 weeks, but nevertheless life happens, and to-dos need to get done, and so here I am 2 weeks “late” (late to no one, but my own schedule 🙂
2 weeks ago tomorrow (Sunday) we submitted our final piece of paper work for foster care. The first word and feeling that came to mind when I attached this final document to an email, and clicked “send” was terrified. This was it….this final piece of paper meant we could start receiving phone calls for placements at any moment. It meant court dates, and visitations with birth parents we were knowingly choosing to become a part of our lives. That any day now a child could walk into our front door being delivered by a social worker with most likely a garbage bag full of tattered belongings, if even anything at all. A child broken already at such a young age, by things a child should never even need to worry about, and we would be entrusted with a chance to love this child, fill their needs, and teach them life skills.
Choosing to be a foster parent, and walking this journey of preperation for this moment, has been an interesting one. You have people who are supportive of your decision, and people who are unsupportive. We’ve had people who are cheering us on, and people trying to talk us out of it. We’ve been told all the reasons we shouldn’t do it, and been praised up, and down for choosing this. Can I be really honest though? None of this is really about US doing this at all….it’s about what God is doing in us, and through us for this child. We would never knowingly choose to take this on ourselves, but we believe this is something God is leading us to do, and honestly we are terrified, but we know, because of God that we will be able. He will make us strong enough. He will be our source, and bridge the gap when we aren’t equipped to help us know how to navigate through these muddy waters.
You see, as Christians we are all called to help orphans in someway shape or form.
Psalm 68:5-6 says:
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families.”
and James 1:27 says this:
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
It maybe that your role is to give financially, to help provide clothes to the foster family whose foster child showed up with nothing, or bring a meal as they get settled in or on visitation days, because those days are harder than others. It maybe to help set up a fundraiser to help an adoptive family bring their child home from overseas, or just check in on an adoptive/foster family and really be there for them….walk through this with them, pray along side of them, cry with them for the brokenness that comes with orphan care. Maybe it’s to help babysit for a foster or adoptive family, or take the kids overnight so they can get a break….or maybe this is just the beginning of God opening the door into your own life to bring your own child into your home. The truth is, I don’t really know what His plan is for you, but He does. Just ask Him, and it’s ok to be scared of what His answer might be….I know I was. I never ever ever in a million years would have chosen this, but I am so grateful He has taken us here. I know there will be many struggles, but such is life, and I am looking forward to all the blessings that will come from just giving a child a chance to thrive in a safe place where their needs are being met. So just start praying. Ask God what your part is in all of this, and just be obedient to the first small step He gives you, and then the next, and the next. He is faithful to provide in whatever He asks us to do.
Now that it’s been almost 2 weeks since I first sent the final document though, I have to admit that my initial feelings of terror turned more to anticipation, and peace. God has been so faithful to provide in this journey thus far, and He will be faithful to carry us through. Yesterday we had our final meeting with our social worker, and met the Director of Child Services with our agency. We just had to come and look over our final case study which is basically all the details of our story gathered in one place. I’m not gonna lie….I teared up reading it. Hearing pieces of our past, being woven into our present, and hopeful for our future….God’s hand was laced through all of it. Seeing the kind words our references said about us written within this document, hearing the social workers interpretation of our conversations, and writing into words why she thinks our family would be a safe and loving environment for a foster child….I was just in awe, that God was so gracious to write this story….our story.
Years ago when Dave and I thought we may actually adopt before we would have biological children, I never thought about how all of this would play out. What our family would actually end up looking like, and to be honest…I still don’t. We are open to accepting a child of any race, so I can’t tell you what our future family portrait will look like, but I do know this…it will be beautiful.
In talking with our foster agencies director yesterday she mentioned how families who already have children tend to have a much easier time with foster children adjusting than those without. Foster children come into a new, scary home, and when they see other kids, it’s easier to trust. They build an attachment and bond with the other children first, before they do the parents.
That moment was so humbling to me. God handpicked Abigail and Alexander to be an integral part in this process. I know they will struggle with this decision at times too. We all will have moments of longing for the way things used to be. We will miss things, and just being a family of 4, but I also know that God is about to grow a huge part of each of us out of our selfishness, and help us pry our tight litle fists apart, and learn to welcome another. Alexander is still so young that he honestly will probably never remember a time without this child being in our home. His biggest struggle will probably just be sharing mommy. Abigail, has the biggest heart. She loves to serve others, but I know that the reality of a child staying in our home long term will eventually set in, and she too will mourn what once was. Though I know these things will be hard to handle, I would much rather let God grow them in these areas to increase their compassion for another, and help grow them than to stay stagnant. I am so grateful God led us to have Abigail and Alexander first. He knew how important they would be in us growing and expanding our family in this next phase.
One final piece of this puzzle that had been weighing on us was the logistics of how we were going to make this all work as a family. I mentioned in my last blog post that I was in the final steps of interviewing for a job, which I was offered by the way! We are very excited, but also it’s a puzzle piece to figure out how I am going to juggle everything especially when most of the kid responsibilities will lie on me. Some people I know have to drive kids 30-45 minutes 1 way for a foster care visitation with a birth parent that lasts and hour. Which means they may have to hang out in the town for an hour. Sometimes a social worker will bring the children home, but still….it’s an hour to hour and a half committment, and that is only 1 parent. If birth mom and birth dad are seperated then there maybe two visitations a week….the thoughts of a potentially overbooked schedule for me to navigate mostly on my own were looming over me a bit, as I anticipated what our new normal might actually look like. Especially since our own schedules of extracurriculars for us, and our biological children need to be considered. Dave was nervous too. He knew a lot of this would rely on me, and He didn’t want me to feel overwhelmed, and have to do this mostly on my own.
Well in our appointment with our social worker yesterday, this prayer was truly answered….we found out that the visitations for our county are literally less than a 5 minute drive from our house….this is HUGE! I seriously was tearing up last night as I sat in awe that God cared to even take care of such a detail as this. We were trying to be open to taking children so as not to put too many parameters on the child we would take, and the number of children needing care in our county has risen significantly in the last year, and the visitation place is less than 5 minutes away. I obviously am not thankful that more children are in care, but I am thankful that God led us to wait a bit longer to be ready now instead of a year ago, and what that might mean in our family actually being able to successfully do this.
So for now we wait. We wait for a call, and potentially many calls. Some that we may say “no” to, some that we may say “yes” to, but that won’t actually turn into the county needing us to take on the child, and someday….a “yes” that will truly turn into a “yes!” And right now I can’t even begin to tell you on that day what our needs will be, but I can encourage you to please ask. I know it will all turn into such a whirlwind, and knowing we have people walking alongside us through this, and helping take care of our needs…means the world to us!
Thank you so much for walking this journey with us!
Oh and PS….I finally got a chance to make up the bed in what will be our foster child’s room. My good friend Juli was purging some of her daughter’s stuff so she gave me all the bedding. It’s so cute, and incase you weren’t aware, our hope is to have a 3-5 year old girl placed with us, so that’s why it’s girly bedding 🙂