It’s been over 9 months since we have had a foster placement.
When Abi left 9 months ago, I had no idea that it would be so long before we would have another placement. I figured we would take 4-6 weeks off to deal with the grief and gather our senses before taking in another child. But one week led to another and we clearly weren’t ready. The weeks led into months and we approached Kiah’s due date. Then, Kiah came and our little family journeyed through a failure to thrive diagnosis as well as that lovely “fourth trimester”. In January Theo started at the police academy and that has been challenging to adjust to as a family.
Most people would say that we need to take more time, that we are under no obligation to take in more children. Family is first and there is no need to rush back into fostering.
But my heart breaks a little bit every time we get a phone call and have to say no. My heart aches when I am reminded of our two empty bedrooms, an empty crib and space in our car for one more carseat. Every time I snuggle with my kids I think of those children who don’t have anyone to snuggle them. Every time I spend time with my girl and see her progress and development, I am reminded of the kids in care who are not progressing in their development because no one is working with them.
I will admit that I have not felt this way all these past nine months. There were many months where I DREADED getting a call. There was absolutely no way that I would have been able to say yes to taking in another placement. I have felt like I was drowning in motherhood and wondered why God was continuing to guide us into the waters of foster care.
There were also times that I felt temporarily ready for another child, but God whispered “no”. I sometimes blamed it on God and I wanted to please people and earn respect by saying “I’m a foster Mom”. The last few months I have stopped including that in a description of myself, because after 9 months and only ONE placement, I feel like a fake. Like I’m not worthy of the respect a foster Mom deserves.
I’ve asked myself if we have made enough of a difference. Ok, God…we did it! We fostered one baby. Can we check off that whole calling to serve the least of these now? Didn’t we serve one of the least of these? Isn’t that enough? Can we just stay comfortable now?
You see, here’s the thing: God has called us to foster care. There is no way that I can deny that or run from it. However, it still requires MUCH prayer and wisdom to know when our family is ready again. Taking in a foster placement when we are not ready would not be fair to anyone involved- it would not be fair to us, to Tera and Kiah, to our support community, and it wouldn’t be fair to the foster children. We would be spread too thin and emotionally, physically and spiritually unable to deal with the challenges. But there is also a time in our Christian life when we have to quite literally jump off the cliff. No, the circumstances are not perfect, and our hearts still feel major caution as we look at jumping back off this cliff. There comes a time when we have to say “YES, LORD. YOU ARE MY STRENGTH AND MY SUSTENANCE. YES, LORD.” and jump.
And right now? Right now I think we are ready to jump off the cliff. I won’t lie- I’m terrified. But I think I’m ready.
I’ve slowly transitioned from dreading a phone call and even ignoring that dreaded number, to carrying my phone with me everywhere to make sure that I don’t miss a call.
I’ve moved from purposely putting away all the baby stuff to carefully folding tiny blankets and onesies and wondering how soon I will be able to use them again.
I’ve wondered what color of paint I should put in my “office” and then quickly decided I should wait to see what age children we get and what colors they might prefer in the room.
I’ve switched from praying that God will not ask us to do this right now, to praying that he would make it OBVIOUS when we are supposed to say yes.
Many of you have been around for a long time and have followed this journey from the very beginning. I’m sure that you have some questions, and as always- please feel free to email me or post a comment if you have any questions. Some of the ones that we have gotten recently from friends and family are:
What age will you accept?
We are licensed from 0-12, however at this point we are more comfortable taking in children that are the age of our current children. This could easily change in the future or based on the circumstances, but that is what we are learning towards.
How many kids will you accept?
That is also completely dependent on the situation- we are actually hoping and praying that we will be able to take in a sibling group!
What can I do to help?
Well, if you are local to us and are willing to babysit our children (both bio and foster), PLEASE contact me. You have to go through a background check and a short visit with our caseworker to be approved. We desperately need people who are willing to watch our children so that Theo and I can put time into our relationship and be the best foster parents possible. Seriously, it takes a village.
WE NEED A MINIVAN.
Right now we have room in our car for one more child. It is already fairly tight and I think it will be rather challenging adding another car seat. We have begun to look for a new vehicle that will hold our whole family (with our unknown additions!), but so far we have had a tough time finding one that is within our budget. If you are local and know of any reliable places to get a used minivan, please let me know. If you are not local, please pray that the Lord will provide a van for us so that we are not limited in the foster children that we take in.
Please continue to pray for our hearts and our home as we wait for the phone call (again). I’m sure that I will eagerly update you all when our family grows again.