Foster Care Fears

I’ve had this post tumbling around in my brain for a long time, and it’s been hard for me to put into writing or to get the courage to hit publish, but I wanted to share some of the fears that I have in regards to foster care.

There are so many obvious reasons to NOT do foster care. Some of the ones that keep me up at night are (in no particular order):

  • I’m not tough-skinned. I’ve heard that you have to be tough to be a foster parent. You have to not let the pain and the heartache break you. You have to say goodbye so many times, and in a lot of the circumstances, you would rather not say goodbye to the child as they are going somewhere that is not good for them. I’ve heard you have to be tough and stand up against the bad behaviors and the difficult children. Well, I’m not tough. In fact, I’m pretty much the opposite. I don’t fit the mold of being a foster parent. I just don’t. Will I fail? I suppose it’s possible. But I can tell you one thing…God will not leave me. Maybe he has called us to foster care so that foster kid can meet a compassionate, un-tough person. Maybe God will slowly teach me how to be tough and stand up for children who need an advocate.
  • Tera getting hurt. This one is really hard for me. Most people say that they don’t want to become foster parents until their biological children are out of the home, or at least a little more grown. Part of this is so that they can gain experience with biological children first, but I know that a huge part of it is because they fear for the safety of their own child. And that makes me sad. I get it. I cannot imagine the devastation Theo and I would feel if something (neglect, abuse) were to happen to Tera. We would feel like failures as parents. We would probably always wonder if choosing to be foster parents was the right thing. But it breaks my heart that we as Christians think we can protect our children from any hurt of the world. It breaks my heart that we as Christians want to make our lives perfect and comfortable before we start sacrificing our lives to the uncomfortable or the dangerous. No, we should not put our children into danger. But we also shouldn’t believe that our priority as parents is giving them the most comfortable life we can muster. Our priority as parents is to teach them how to follow Christ while navigating this world that is not our home.
  • Our marriage getting hurt. Becoming parents was challenging to our marriage. It was difficult. I cannot even imagine how much more difficult being foster parents is. I worry that we should say no until we get our marriage perfect and then we would be the best foster parents ever. But you know what? Our marriage is never going to be perfect. And if we wait until it is, we are never going to be foster parents. It will most certainly that we have to be more intentional, that we have to make decisions together and work through each trial that comes our way.
  • Getting Burnt out and having to quit/fail. Burn out happens. It’s not good. For anybody involved. It would throw a huge wrench in so many things. Our family life. Our marriage. Our ability to parent, both bio children and foster children. We would probably have to step back from responsibilities, maybe say no to foster children. And then and there I would feel like I’ve failed. Like I couldn’t do it. Like I’ve let everybody down, especially those children who so desperately need a loving home.
  • Change/The Unkown. Change is always hard. As a missionary kid, I know this particularly well. I know that my whole life is about to change. I’m about to go from a stay at home Mom of one to a foster Mom and bio Mom of who knows how many. I know that the children placed in my home will be going through incredibly difficult changes. Tera will have to adjust to a change. I think she will adore having siblings, but there are always those days where she just wants Mommy, and heaven forbid Mommy has to do anything else with her time. And there is always the fear that this will change us. Like, really change us. We will never have the same comfortable life anymore after we accept these children into our homes.

To all the preparedness-minded folks out there: Have I not commanded you be strong and corageous? Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9. | For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 Let these things guide your heart. Do not be fearful. Be powerful!

So there you have a little peek into my heart. I am not perfect, and I do have fears about this whole process. I don’t know what the outcome will be, and I have heard the horror stories, just like you have heard them. I have listed all the excuses possible, and in the end it turns out that God wants us to do this anyways. Even though I’m scared and some days I just don’t feel cut out for this. I’ve said this over and over again in my posts about foster care/adoption. God doesn’t call us to comfortable lives. Ok, sometimes are lives are comfortable and that is a gift from God, but our purpose on earth here is not to build comfortable lives. It’s to glorify Him. So I need to take these fears to HIM and remember that He knows my future, and the future of all the children that will be in our home.

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I’m linking this post up with Adoption Talk Link-Up. I would encourage you to hop over there and read through some of the other posts and bloggers there. I don’t have much to offer in the way of experience, but you can find a whole community of foster/adoption blogs and a great place to start is this link-up.

No Bohns About It

2 comments

  1. thebeautifulopportunity says:

    Hi Suzanne! What a beautiful expression of your concerns regarding foster care. As a bio, adoptive, and foster mom, I can tell you that your fears are normal. When you’re talking with your social worker during your home study, be clear about what you feel will work well for your family (especially for Tera). When offered a referral, ask about the things that matter most to you (perhaps safe to be around young children?). Once you have a child placed with you, you can do things to mitigate your other concerns. Ask family members or friends to get fingerprinted so they can babysit for you as needed. Search out others working with traumatized kids. Get smart on how trauma effects children. Use respite care if needed. You can totally do this! It doesn’t take a saint, or an experienced parent, or a thick skinned person to be a good foster parent. It takes a person who is committed to doing what it takes to be a good foster parent to a particular child.

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