I'm sure that I've mentioned that when it comes to my experience as a foster parent, I'm reminded of the quote from the movie A League Of Their Own, that says "It's supposed to be hard, it's the hard that makes it good".
I guess that I kind of use that phrase as a mental pep talk to myself when I'm struggling with a difficult day. We all need an encouraging word to stay the course.
Last night was our agency's annual holiday party for foster families. Honestly, I was kind of looking for a reason not go. Not because the gathering isn't any good. On the contrary, it's a wonderful event. A great catered dinner, crafts, games, and gifts for the kids, cookie decorating, fun fun fun! The girls look forward to it all year. I do too actually.
But this year, my husband was at a business meeting and would have to miss it, leaving me to get all of the kids, including a cranky toddler, to the festivities in arctic temps. I was tired. But, we did go, and I'm glad that we did.
Over and over, on this foster care adventure, I get the best boost and sense of renewed purpose when I have the opportunity to get with other foster parents. I always feel a sense of kinship with others that feel called to this purpose. It may sound corny, but its true.
So last night, I was introduced to a couple who were brand new foster parents, licensed just a few weeks ago, and awaiting their first placement. It took me back a few years when that was me and my husband. Newbies to the core, looking for advice and fellowship. Now here I was, with a little more experience - very little, I think- but still experience, offering my own advice. It was good to restate aloud the reasons we choose to do this. There's a verse in Scripture that says that he who refreshes others will be refreshed. It's true. I'm glad we went if for that purpose alone.
I would encourage others thinking of pursuing foster care to make sure that they are intentional in connecting with other foster parents. You need the support that sometimes comes best from those walking the same road that you do. Even though we have the support of family and friends, there are aspects of this life that they don't understand. And there are always other foster families that have been where you are, and can empathize. Likewise, you will be that help to a family in the earlier stages of foster care. We need each other, so don't go it alone.