Why foster care?
I'm treading lightly this morning, although it may not seem like it with that big, bold subject line. "Why foster care?" feels like a loaded blog title and it probably is. I've had seasons before where I've tossed and turned over how honest to be in this space. This blog isn't a money-maker for me, nor is it an attempt to make a huge name for myself or gain a whole host of followers. It is simply my spot to reflect, to show up and share my story mostly with my own self, and yet also to encourage others at the same time. I've always thought honesty was the best policy and my most favorite people are those that are honest, but also with a healthy "can-do" attitude and general rosiness.
This is why I struggle sometimes to know how to put pen to paper. I admit, in this particularly busy season of ours I'm choosing to limit my intake of social media. I've noticed when I read too much negativity from someone or a blog, like about every single bad moment in a day or how crazy life is over and over again, it doesn't encourage me but makes me feel like maybe my life will be that crazy too! And the truth is, my house and home and family are mine, not someone else's to control like a puppet. I can choose stress and crazy and bad days or I can choose peace and rhythms and routines that will promote calm in the midst of even chaos.
I am trying to choose well. We have certainly chosen well with foster care. It isn't all cupcakes and rainbows and that's why I'm answering the question-"Why foster care?" in this sacred space of mine today. We're at the stage in the process now where free time is being used for lengthy CPR/First aid courses, gathering paperwork, going to physicals, receiving training, making copies, etc, etc, etc.
There is so much to do at this point! The next three weeks will be very intense for our family and I ask for your prayers for rest, strength, and fun tucked into these busy weeks and weekends.
But all that is really not why we're choosing foster care. I feel like it's the reason why a lot of people don't choose foster care. Maybe it seems overwhelming or they don't know where to start. Maybe they're like we were and are picturing a house full of children, too many to even handle. Maybe someone is wondering why we would choose foster care, when our lives are certainly full already with our girls, the farm, and my photography.
I can kind of understand this thinking and these doubts. Last summer it became clear that things just weren't getting anywhere with our adoption agency. We'd go months without hearing a word, while our hearts and home sat empty and knowing God had something in mind to fill it with. We began to pray and listen to sermons on the back deck very frequently. The summer of 2016 will alway stand out in my mind as the "back deck summer" because it's where we wrestled really difficult questions, agreed, disagreed, and then agreed again on what we should do. It's where God changed our hearts, piece by piece, until we felt absolutely sure we should close the door with our adoption agency and chase hard after foster care instead. For in the gaps of silence from our agency we were absolutely surrounded by stats, news, stories, and scriptures that made it so clear there was a HUGE need already for families to foster.
You guys, there were/are hundreds of babies, children, and teenagers with no home.
Literally nowhere to sleep, no mama or daddy to love on them, discipline them, and show them what a FUN thing a family is. How on earth could we have sat with this knowledge and turned away?
We couldn't have and we didn't. I remember sitting through an "Orphan Sunday" service at church, years ago. I looked at photos that traveled from church to church of children who had no home. In an instant God gently asked me to picture my own children on those posters, being carried around from place to place looking for a place to call home. It made me come undone, and still does.
THAT is why we are choosing foster care, mostly because it choose us. We believe God's scripture clearly states that we should "defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed." (Psalm 82:3) We believe that everyone, not just a select few, should play a part in this orphan crisis our nation is facing, and more specifically, our state.
The calling doesn't have to be one size fits all. My friends who text me "You can do it!!", my sister and parents who babysit my kids while we complete training, the volunteers who DO the training, the ones who make meals for foster families, the ones who donate clothes, the ones who provide babysitting....each of them are a part of our foster care story, it is not just about us.
And that sums it up right there. It isn't about us. It's about a child with a calling and a story for their life, just as much as we have on ours. We aren't any better or different because we live in a big house on a farm. Every single child deserves a warm place to call home and the love of parents. Every. Single. Child. THAT is why we're doing foster care.
In the next few weeks and months I'm going to be honest with you about our journey. I've never believed in sugar-coating and won't start now. My honest thoughts now are that there's no stopping us, but we are admittedly a bit tired. I can't even imagine getting a few years down the road and my explanation for NOT doing foster care was that the paperwork and training felt like too much. The truth is though, it does feel like a lot right now. I'm trying to be a great mama to the girls, while also praying and preparing for our foster baby. It feels like a new balance I'm not quite used to yet. I'm drinking more coffee than normal these days and having to show myself some grace in a few areas like jogging and my photography business. I'm not keeping up with texts or playdates like I would prefer, but again, this is all so temporary. In a few months we'll welcome a little one home and I can promise you these tiny details will fade away. God is dropping seeds into my heart for my photography business that you and I both will get to watch grow later.
I struggle to be honest because I know how selfish my honesty sounds and that trips me up. If I say I'm tired from doing paperwork, I instantly think how absurd that is because I got to sit by the fire or at my beautiful kitchen table with a hot mug of something, to do paperwork. All the while there are kiddos looking for a place to sleep for the night.
That is why the honesty thing is hard for me now, because even on my most tired or busy day, I still have the world. I can't be ok with myself if I got to the end of my life and did nothing about that, if I just seeped in my own rosiness and home and didn't share with the great, big hurting world that needs some hope.
That is why we choose foster care. The roar of the babies, children, and teenagers is too loud and at the same time, too silent for me to ignore. There are kiddos without a voice or a home. I've looked that need straight in the eye and I will never, ever be the same. I can't sit down in this thing called life and look away. I must do something. So for us, we choose foster care. We choose to open our home to babies, ages birth-24 months. We will love them fiercely and grieve greatly when it's time for goodbye. We will be forever changed.
(Thoughts, questions, comments?)
And tomorrow on a lighter note...."How scrapbooking is saving my sanity", lol.