Anyway. Will and I started having those quiet, crazy heart whispers early in 2015. We had known since high school this was something we would eventually do, like when we were finished having our biological children. So this year when we discussed these fleeting thoughts, casually at first, it was always a talk about what we would do in the future. After all, we had a 7 month old child at home; it would be the definition of insane to open our home to other kids with one so little, not to mention the fact that we aren't done having our own biological kids yet. God's funny, though. His plans are so much bigger, scarier, and better than our own. Something kept pushing us to do a bit more research. We reached out to some people in our community who are foster parents, and I talked to a cousin who also fosters. It became clear that this was something God had in plan for us, and he was urging us to follow his timeline, not ours.
Which is how, the first first week of my summer vacation, we found ourselves sitting in an office talking to the Foster Parenting Coordinator at what has become our agency.
Long, arduous, tedious- these words about sum up the process to becoming licensed. We were pushing to get everything completed before Will started grad classes again in the fall. We officially received our foster parenting license on September 30th. We were originally told we would likely receive a placement very soon, as (unfortunately) we live in a busy county. Our specifications are a bit narrow because we want to stick with young children for now, but we were quite surprised when one, two, three, almost four weeks passed and we had no placements.
All that changed this Wednesday, when we finally received the call we had been praying over for so long. That evening, a precious 10- day old baby girl came to stay with us.
So far, she has been a total dream baby. Everyone always said Jonah was such a good and easy baby, but compared to our little Sweet Pea, he was rather difficult. We are savoring her newborn snuggles and enjoying the rare opportunity to go through this stage of life without the other, less glamorous half (i.e., post partum hormones, recovery from childbirth, breastfeeding struggles, etc.)
You know how surreal it is when you bring your first baby home, and you feel like, "wait, I'm in charge?! I'm being trusted with this tiny, fragile human who can't fend for herself?" Well, we pretty much are feeling the same way, but it's a bit different this time because she didn't grow in my womb. I don't feel like we have a "right" to her. Nonetheless, she, like each child that will hopefully pass through our home, is just as much "ours" as any child that forever stays in our home.
There are always lots of questions folks have when we talk about our Foster parenting not adventure. I've taken the time to answer some of them:
We are licensed for kiddos aged birth to 7 years old, although we plan to only accept kids under that's of four for now. When our biological kids are older, we can change our license reflect the new ages or kids we will accept.
We are licensed for two foster children, which would most likely be a sibling group.
We are not fostering with the end goal of adopting. We are by no means opposed to or closed to the idea of adopting foster children, and truly the opportunity will most likely arise at some point. However, the ultimate goal of most foster cases is reunification with the family.
Yes, you can see a picture of our precious Sweet Pea. If we see you in person. Even though these kids are "ours" for a while, they still have the right to privacy and it's our job to protect that privacy. We can't post pictures of their faces or post their names, tell you their life story or why we have them.
Speaking of, sometimes we will know why they're in foster care, but other times we may not know. No, we can't tell you.
We know there are always questions, as people are naturally curious. Please don't ever hesitate to ask Will or me; the worst that could happen is we either don't know the answer or we can't tell you for privacy's sake.
Before I wrap up this giant post, I feel the need to address the white elephant about foster parenting. Be cautious to say that you could never do what we do because it would be too hard to say goodbye. We haven't experienced this yet, but after only 48 hours with our little Sweet Pea we have an inkling that when the day comes it will be more difficult than we could ever express. It is going to be "too hard" every. single. time. But what's harder is knowing how many children there are in our city, our county, our state, our country, and our world that have no one. No one to quiet their cries. No one to calm their fears. No one to push them to reach a goal. No one to support them in the tough years of adolescence. There is a real need for people to love these kids, and that need is greater than my personal and selfish need for the security that comes with taking no risks and quieting the heart whisperings that come from the Almighty one Himself. We were not put here on this earth to live safe, quiet lives centered and focused on our own goals. I'm not saying everyone should become foster parents, but I encourage you to tune into your heart whisperings. Pay attention to the things that might only be a fleeting thought for "someday" and examine why it has to be someday. God sometimes asks us to do God-sized things (like becoming foster parents when you have a perfectly lovely baby at home who already takes all your time and patience, and you know you'll get too attached to every dang child that walks through your door and it will mean your heart gets broken again and again and again), but He won't ask without providing a way. He is faithful, and He will mend our hearts and give us strength when we have none left of our own.
Annnnnnnnd I'm going to end this post there because our newborn eats every 3 hours, and this Mama is feeling the burn from the past two nights.
Peace and love,