13 months ago we were a foster family in the waiting.
...waiting for the first call that would come requesting our help in caring for a little boy or girl.
I didn't think our first placement would be two kids at once and I certainly didn't think they would be so little. It came as no surprise to Matt, but somehow I dreamed up that we'd get one elementary school aged child to start. I thought they'd break us "newbees" in slowly.
Well they didn't!
Diamonte who is now 2 years and 3 months old came to us at 14 months. Azariyah, who just celebrated her first birthday on May 16th, was only 3 days old when I picked her up from the hospital. We've had these precious children for over a year now and I can hardly believe it.
How would I describe this past year? Challenging and rewarding, in that order.
It's been a full year and God is teaching me so many things through what I would now call, my "how to biblically love others who are vastly different than you boot camp."
Here are the first 4 lessons I am learning through the fostering experience. To keep my blog entries short, I'll add the next 4 on another day.
1- I am really not in control of anything. The future of these children is not in my hands. Of course this can be said of all of our children but when you are fostering, just about every three months there is a chance that they may leave your family. There is no concern for this regarding my children Stephen and Abbie. They are here to stay. While this has been very emotionally challenging, it has helped me to love the sovereignty of God all the more as I know that I have a solid foundation on which to rest my anxious soul.
2- Sacrifice is difficult, especially when you're in a new season of life and you feel you are moving backwards. Going from life with a 10 year old and 7 year old and then adding a newborn and toddler is challenging - especially when they are not "yours" and you cannot discipline them the same way you discipline your children. Diapers, baby food, bottles, naps, tantrums, tons of laundry, sleepless nights - I was out of this stage and had been for years and years! I have moments when I question if this is the best thing for my own family because of the sacrifices they are required to make as well: sharing their rooms and their toys, sharing their time with us and the ability to do the things we used to just pick up and do. While it is hard to explain at times to my children why we can't do certain things, and even more difficult when they are disappointed, I am resolved that the lessons we are learning about serving, love and sacrifice are far more valuable.
3- Matt is a great father and loves children. This is one of the very first things I remember noticing about Matt when we first met...only second to his really short shorts and tube socks pulled up to his knees. Matt has a heart for children to know Jesus and that is one attractive quality in a man! Not only does he help with the daily stuff of life but he has blessed me with special days out and even a trip to Minnesota for a Desiring God Conference. Diamonte and Azariyah love Matt and their faces light up when he walks through the front door. I'm so grateful to God that we are partners in this!
4- You feel, through fostering, that you are willingly asking for your heart to be broken again and again. So quickly, these children have become a part of the fabric of our family. They call us Mommy and Daddy, we kiss their boo boos, we care for their needs, they love to "nuggle" with us, we tuck them in each night and pray over them and for them, all the while, with the realization that they are not our children and that they could be taken from us and returned home. To love, to truly love, is to lay down your life for another. Loving like Jesus loves is an open door for heartache and pain.
...to be continued...