I’m just going to really honest with you all.
Foster care has felt really lonely.
Actually, motherhood in general has been really lonely for me. And for Theo. Well, obviously motherhood doesn’t apply to Theo, but fatherhood.
It’s like we are giving ourselves constantly, and while we do have support if we just asked, sometimes asking is even harder than just bucking up and bearing the loneliness.
I wrote a blog post about this whole deal. I blame most of it on our completely independent culture. If I lived in any other culture in the world, a relative, a family friend or a random teenager in the community would be sent to help me with the cooking and the responsibilities of being a wife/Mom/housekeeper. But not so in our society. In our society, you do it all on your own. And you brag about all your successes, the things that you can accomplish by yourself day in and day out.
Foster care has been an even lonelier road for us. I do my best to ask for help, but there are many days that I feel like I’m drowning in diapers, crying and the exhaustion that accompanies being a parent to two little ones so close in age. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in the emotional needs of being a foster parent, the back and forth of where she will stay, how long she will be with us, and what will happen next. I have no clue, and it seems to change every other day.
I have no family close by, I have no one approved to babysit Little Miss. Basically, it often feels like we have no one.
I’m just being honest here.
But today I want to focus on something else. I follow a woman on Instagram who is also a foster Mom. She is a single Mom who has adopted three girls (international adoption, domestic adoption AND foster care…how cool is that!?). She continues to foster and posts frequently about those who step up to support her, help her, play father roles in her girls lives, etc. She classifies all this under the hashtag #ourvillageloveswell.
When I first started following her, I was filled with jealousy. I mean, no one has provided half the things for us that they do for her. I was a little bit resentful, wondering what we are doing wrong that we don’t seem to have as much support.
But then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Our village loves well, too. I’ve just been looking the other direction, taking on a “woe is me” attitude, just waiting for people to step up and help us. But if I choose to count all the ways that “Our Village” is loving well, I bet I could make a super long list. In fact, I think that is just what I will do.
- Diapers, wipes and a few brand-new outfits were delivered almost immediately from various members of our church family as soon as we learned of Little Miss’ placement
- Items were purchased off her Amazon wishlist, most arriving before Little Miss even got here!
- Several friends stepped up to give us bags of clothes to borrow while we waited to get Tera’s hand-me-downs in the mail
- My sister-in-law mailed all Tera’s hand-me-downs within two days of finding out that we received a placement. She even managed to do this during a horrid stomach bug that was going around her family
- My mother-in-law dropped a lot of responsibilities to drive all the way down here and stay for several days to help me learn to take care of two little girls
- Our church sent out a sign-up and provided us with SIX meals in the days/weeks following the placement of Little Miss.
- A friend was getting ahead on her freezer meals and just decided to make an extra to bring over
- Another friend was getting ahead by making a huge batch of breakfasts. She doubled the recipe and brought me several breakfasts- all cooked and ready to go!!
- 5 different families/couples volunteered to become alternative caregivers for us. This means that they can babysit Little Miss AND Tera so that Theo and I can have the chance to occasionally go out. (They haven’t been approved yet, but that isn’t their fault, lol!)
- Little Miss received THREE bouquets of gorgeous flowers in her first week in our home.
- My Aunt Natalie has given up multiple nights every single week to help me at dinner time/bed time while Theo is gone at work. She comes over as soon as she gets off work, often bringing dinner for me and girls. She will hold Little Miss, read to Tera, teach her how to build block towers, and simply be two extra hands for me when I deal with the end of the day chaos. I do not take that for granted.
- A visit from our pastor, just to see how things are going and to pray with us.
- The text messages. I have several friends who will simply text me and ask me how it’s doing, are there any updates, how am I feeling emotionally/physically/mentally? That means the world to me, and makes me feel so much less lonely, just knowing that someone is out there thinking of me and the girls and cares enough to ask how we are doing.
- A visit from my best friend who flew all the way from VA just to add a helping hand and spent some time living with the day-in and day-outs of our family.
- A gift in the mail. I recently ordered dresses for the girls off of Etsy. When the package came, there were two gifts for Little Miss inside. This meant a whole lot to me.
- Christmas gifts. As Christmas is coming, several relatives have asked me what “Tera and Little Miss” want for Christmas. It means so much that she is simply regarded as another grandchild/niece/sibling.
Well, when I look at this way, I can see that our village truly does love well.
When I chose to be dissatisfied, un-content and jealous, I am choosing the opposite of what Christ wants for me on this journey. Perhaps foster care is just as much about me learning to put my worth in Christ than it is about helping children in need. Perhaps God is trying to teach me that I cannot be looking to outside sources for help, encouragement and fulfillment. Perhaps God is trying to teach me that I am so incredibly blessed, and if I just open my eyes and look around, I will see that our village loves well.
So, so well.