Deuteronomy 6:6-7

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What Being a Foster Parent Is Teaching Me

It's hard to believe that it's been about 2 years already since my husband and I felt the call to be foster parents. And believe me, it was a call. I spent at least a month arguing with God about why I SHOULD NOT go down this road. I mean, I already had two kids at home. We were already very busy homeschooling, and involved in a variety of extracurricular activities. Why in the world would I want to add to that craziness by adding another kid???

Well, I found out firsthand, that when God wants you to do something, He will prevail. And He did. And here we are, almost two years later as I said, in this up and down, roller coaster ride called Foster Parenting. I will not get into the specifics of the children, as I need to protect the confidentiality of the involved parties, but I can share what I am learning. I say, "am learning", because I am discovering what a process this is, and I doubt that I will ever get to the point where I understand it all.
But I can tell you what is slowly sinking in at this point in the journey.

You just won't please everyone.
And you shouldn't bother trying. Not that you need to be a jerk. Since the beginning, I have sought to be flexible, easy to work with, and positive. And as long as we do this, I will continue doing just that. But let's be real. Being a Foster Parent means that there are some serious issues involved, and you need to accept the fact early on that sometimes, people just won't be happy with you. That's okay! Do what you can do, bring it to the Lord, and leave it there. Easy to say, hard to do.

Find support.
Foster care is often hard. I am so very grateful that my husband and I have the support of our families. But, even with that support, you need other foster parents to connect with. There are issues that will come up that even the most supportive families don't understand. You need people who have been where you are, and can offer encouragement.

Trust your instincts.
YOU are your foster child's best advocate. You need to trust those feelings you'll get when something is just "off" in a particular situation. Go with your gut, and don't worry about the feelings you might hurt. See- "You just won't please everyone".

It's worth it.
There is much that is so hard if you foster. It's emotionally and physically exhausting. You give up your privacy and often your sleep. It is often filled with uncertainty. There are times when I think I'm done. And then I make that connection with a birth parent. I watch a child turn a corner. I get perspective. I can't save everyone, but I can help one. And that one is worth it

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