I NEVER thought I would EVER be a foster parent. “It’s too sad, it’s too hard,” I’d think to myself. I couldn’t imagine loving someone and then watching them leave without the comfort of ever seeing them again or knowing they were safe and okay. I never wanted the pain I knew would be a part of the puzzle. I never wanted to be a foster parent.
Until one day it hit me. Those were MY excuses. It was about me. My heart. My emotions. My pain. I was not thinking of the child who had no choice, had no say, and meant no harm…they were just taken and thrown into a new strange place and told to swim. They simple needed a loving place to play and be a kid, even if just for a little while.
When I am sad or in need of assurance, I have the privilege and amazing gift of being able to go to Jesus. I never come away without comfort. When I am angry, I can dump it at His feet and know that He will take care of it. When I am scared of the future, I know He will be there. He is faithful. He is constant. He is true.
And so I began to think, “if Christians can’t handle the pain of fostering then WHO can?” After all, don’t we have the eternal hope of God’s sovereignty to lean on? Aren’t we called to shine our flashlights down the darkest corridor? (WARNING: don’t take this as guilt, I’m simply talking about if He calls you then He equips you!!)
I prayed and prayed because my desire was eating at me and my husband was still on the fence about whether or not we should get our license. And in a matter of weeks the Lord spoke to him and changed his heart in an amazing way! We would give it a shot, the ol’ college try, and see where the road leads….HOORAY!!!
The first child we had was an adorable little boy. J’s eyes were so big and even though he barely spoke you knew he was always observing, watching. He loved to run around in his diaper after my kids. It took days until we finally saw him smile and laugh. I like to hope that our home was a place where he found something to laugh about again. He introduced some much needed diversity into our home. One night while taking a bath Noah was very upset because “J got to color himself black and I never got to pick MY color and I want to be GREEN!!!” 😉
J was exposed to so many new things and we spoiled him as best we could, but nevertheless his needs were far to great for us. He later hopped from foster home to foster home until he could finally reach an official diagnosis and enter into therapeutic care that he needed. We pray for him still just about every day.
Bronson and I thought that maybe an older child would be a better fit for us since the younger child like to bite and beat up on Zoey a little. So we went took in a five year old boy next. He was a very large five year old that came from a very sad situation. I was told there were wild chickens in his home. I don’t think he had ever slept in a real bed. Even a week later he still never smelled good. I couldn’t seem to get him clean which baffled me. He could not hold a crayon and even though he was five he didn’t know a single letter of the alphabet. We were told he was possible ADD when he was dropped at our doorstep. He was our “Jeckyll and Hyde” child. He could be sweet as an angel in public and then turn on the hellion side at home. He taught my kids certain words and tried to hit me constantly. It was a battle that was over very soon and it broke my heart to have to throw the towel in so quickly. He clearly needed a different environment and went on to stay at a boys home that came highly recommended. We pray for him as well.
Exhausted and wide eyed we decided to re-evaluate things. Had we heard the Lord wrong? What are we DOING?
Then before we could call and tell them “we quit” a call came in for a little girl. We prayed and decided to give things one last try….and she arrived two hours later. A dirty teddy bear, a crusty bottle, 1 diaper, and a head full of lice was all she came with. She looked like a little pixie and I fell in love with her so quickly. I wanted to show her off like a new baby to all my friends. The kids loved her and she quickly became a part of our family. We were assured that it was going to be a long-term stay and we were happy to hear that. I toyed with the idea in my head that maybe she could be Smith #3, only to find out a few weeks later that she would be returning home the next day. I was so shocked as nothing had changed and was told DSS was dropping the case entirely.
And just like that she was gone. She came with nothing, and left with Gymboree clothes (thanks to my sis) and three bags of toys and belongings. My only hope was that she would look at some of the things and remember us and the fun we had together. My kids still ask about her and if she can come to their birthday parties. I pray for her everyday.
Months went by and Bronson and I were not ready to move on. We were going to take a break as we evaluated all of the children we had and what our family could endure. We did a few respite needs for our friends (aka taking care of children of other foster parents so they could have a break) and really enjoyed that. And we realized that even with sweet, well behaved foster children, we just couldn’t do it. It stretched us too thin. Our two young children plus other children just equaled a product that wasn’t fair to anybody. So, for now, we have ground to a halt.
We look at other foster parents and notice that they have older or grown children, and I’m pretty sure I understand their reasoning. I would LOVE to try again in a few years when my kids are to the point where they can understand WHY they are getting spankings and the foster child doesn’t, and WHY these children have no clothes or no toys and NEED love. I want us to love as a family and really hope that in a few years we will be able to try again. In the meantime, I have an idea that the Lord has given me to still help and contribute in a small small way (more to come on that soon).
If you’re still here, I hope you have been able to get a glimpse of what fostering is like in a sense. I hope to follow up with another post on logistics and common questions/myths. But in a nutshell it’s not for everyone. You love as much as you can, pray for them as much as you can, and know that the Lord is King over all. Only He can heal our hearts and bandage them up over and over again. He is everything that we need in this life. God’s word says “if the willingness is there then the gift is acceptable.” And although Bronson and I were very pathetic foster parents, I know that the Lord watches over the six children who came through this home and has now specifically assigned us as their personal prayer people. 😉
This is something I wrote below when we were praying about being foster parents….
I have a little secret
trying hard inside to keep it
from bursting forth
out of my bones, and eyes, and words.
My heart says go ahead and steal it
squash it, push it, break it
for it knows the sacrifice is worth it
on this side of heavens shore.
Is this not what you did Lord?
offered up your heart to the sword?
the Great Rescuer of love
the Great Physician of the heart
came and gave up His own.
My once fragile heart says “bring it”
for once I think I can trade it
to become bandaged up and limping
til I cross the shores of home.
I would love for you to leave a comment. I love your encouragement, but please comment if you have questions you would like answered about fostering. Please don’t make my head swell with your sweetness because I am no foster mom saint and all it does it make my head grow! Leave your sweetness for the REAL foster moms out there because they are the ones that deserve every bit of it! 🙂