Responses and to Common Statements
We first looked into fostering because we were told that we couldn’t begin the adoption process until our daughter was 18 months old. We were eager to get started so we saw fostering as a shortcut to jumpstart our process. Throughout the training, however, it became clear to us that fostering in and of itself could be an incredibly powerful ministry, forever changing the lives of children living with us. Every time we bring home a child who has been in a hurting home, we feel deeply humbled and privileged that God would allow us the honour of loving this child and being part of their redemptive and healing story.
We aren’t sure how long we’ll stay in this crazy life, but for now, we know it’s exactly the plan God has for us, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
This is one of the most frequent and most frustrating things we hear. If you stop and think about it, you’re implying that we as foster parents must be heartless because we don’t get attached or it won’t hurt us when they leave.
That’s far from the truth.
As foster parents, we’ve just weighed the pros and cons and calculated the risks. We see that these children desperately need love and attachment, and their need for this kind of stability and security far outweighs our need to be protected from tough emotions. We’ve decided that, as the adults in the situation, we will bear the load of that burden rather than ask the children to. We’ve learned that if you foster long enough, you will inevitably limp through the rest of your life, carrying the scars of the children who have crossed your path.
We (kind of) get it. You’re curious. You want to know if the crazy rumours you’ve heard are true. Could parents really do that? How bad was it? But excuse me, the children living with us do not exist to satisfy your curiosity. Whether it is a newborn baby with zero ability to share his own story, or a pre-teen girl who can, their story is their own. It is private and certainly is worth more than being tossed about like casual gossip.
Though we’re far from amazing, and even further from being classified as saints, we may agree with you that we’re crazy. The foster care journey is a crazy, unpredictable one, full of ups and downs. It’s an adventure where there are real risks, and you, your partner, and your children will bear the cost of bringing brokenness in. I read somewhere that you cannot bring brokenness into your home and not be broken by it. This is true in every single way. Foster care changes you, and we certainly don’t view ourselves as heroes in any way, but feel honoured to be part of these children’s stories.
The number of children in our home since we began fostering has fluctuated between two and five. When we have five, four of them are generally under the age of four and we kind of end up falling into some sort of understanding that our expectations have automatically dropped. We will not go to bed with a clean kitchen. We will be having macaroni and cheese and hot dogs for dinner more often and children will not get bathed every day (or even every other?) That has been part of “how we do it.” Our expectations have certainly dropped and clean laundry often sits in the dryer until a new load replaces it.
We have also learned to “do it” by outsourcing and calling in back-ups more often. My first night home alone with four children under two and a half years old? I called up a friend and asked her to help me get the kiddos to bed. Dinner was overwhelming? We signed up for HelloFresh. Our marriage was missing out on quality time? We hired a babysitter.
They sure are! Our hands, our home, our time… the kiddos fill most of the empty space around here. They certainly fill our hearts!