Friends, family and acquaintances are curious to know how things are going in our home. I often hear questions or statements, such as:
I want to adopt children too.
How long will they stay?
How do you like having a teenager in your home?
How is Big Boy?
Don’t you get attached?
It takes a special person to foster parent.
Finishing with 5 & 6!
5. Don’t you get attached?
YES! Ok, next question…………Just kidding.
We are very attached to big boy and TD. There is something that happens deep within when you begin to act as a mother and father to a child. The depth of attachment only increases with time. I think there is a certain carefulness I feel in my heart when I realize just how much I love big boy. For instance, when I hold him and rock him, I am sometimes telling myself, “Remember, Dana…he is not here forever.” Then again, I am sometimes telling myself, “How can I live without this boy?” There will always be two sides fighting against each other in my heart…One telling me he is going soon – and then the other just trying to savor the moments that we do have. I try to focus on savoring the moments we do have.
In regards to TD, we are attached…we already love her. However, I know the coming months will bring greater attachment and greater depth to the attachment. When it comes down to it, there is a possibility she will become our first daughter. This is a tremendous, joyful possibility. There is also a certain level of grief that would come with this possibility. I wasn’t the one who got to feed her baby food or teach her how to tie her shoes. I didn’t get to braid her hair. I didn’t get to teach her that boys have cooties and to just stay away (LOL). That doesn’t mean I get anything less than wonderful… But I am sure I will often look in her eyes and wish that I would have had the opportunity to know her from the start.
When foster parenting, there is just as much love in my heart as I believe I would have for my own children. The only difference is that there is not a promise of unending relationship. That makes me sad, but it does not waver or discourage me. Instead, it keeps me in the present. Rather than assuming there will always be a later time to do this or that with the kids, it makes me think about the here and now. It forces me to value what I get to share with them today.
6. It takes a special person to be a foster parent.
I have had numerous, numerous people say this to me. I have pondered the statement because I really don’t think we are that special of people… We are just very ordinary, regular people who like to be together and love God together.
As I pondered the statement, I wanted to present my own statement as a rebuttal:
I think it takes a special GOD to be a foster parent.
The truth is there is nothing Jeff and I have to really offer any child except for what anyone would do for their own. But, if we are connected to God, then there is no limit to the great ministry that can happen right within the walls of our home.
Foster Parenting is something I think many could do, but are afraid to do. I think there is a level of fear some feel at the thought of bringing instability to their home. But think about this…. When big boy and baby came to our home this past October, I was suddenly heightened in my prayer time. I started to realize – hey – I have an orphan in my home right now. If God is going to hear our prayers, now is the time! Don’t worry – I know He always hears us… But there is something about the attention God gives toward the widows and orphans in the Bible. Over and over again, scripture depicts how the eye of God is specifically on these two people groups. Instead of worries of instability, I found myself anticipating what miracles God was going to do through our home now that I was mothering the very children that hold God’s special attention.
Suddenly, the scriptures came to my mind…Inviting strangers to live with us, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry. How silly of me to ever look at these scriptures in the context of a soup kitchen (though that ministry is just as valid)! Instead, let me open up my freezer and pull out a couple of frozen waffles and present breakfast to a four year old! My mind is blown when scripture is fulfilled in regular, daily living. It just points out how much God is not looking for extraordinary people. He just wants people who can spread pb and jelly on bread and say Jesus loves you….it is really that simple. The work of God is really that simple.
Lest you think I am presenting a sales pitch to you trying to push you into foster parenting…
I do feel there is a sort of call you must receive from God as there are great burdens to bear.
But even these burdens do not seem heavy when they are part of the center of His will… For instance, if you have the gift to sing, then you sing away… You still have to think about pitch, sound quality, breathing, etc. It is rarely effortless – even if it sounds effortless. But, it is not a burden for a singer to sing – rather it brings great joy to their heart. However,a tone deaf person would find singing too great a burden to bear, dread it and would be met with terrible results if they tried it.
I think it is the same with most callings from God…and the same for Foster Parenting. The burden is not too heavy if it comes from God: “His burdens are light.”
But I don’t think it takes special people. It just takes a willing vessel that is sure God wants to use it this way.