I'm out of town for a few days enjoying life in Arizona with my mom, grandma and Story! While I'm gone I've asked some friends to share with you! I love all these ladies and am honored to have them on my blog while I'm gone. Enjoy their words and share them with your friends. I know you'll be blessed by all they have to say! Leave them a comment thanking them for sharing their lives with you!
Before we get into the depths of my ramblings here, I would like to take a moment and give a disclaimer that I have only been fostering for 5 months, but what a 5 months it has been. I have learned lots but I certainly have not learned it all.
A few years back while I was getting my finances in order and getting licensed for foster care, I had the opportunity to personally spend some time with Dr. Karyn Purvis, author of the awesome, must read book, The Connected Child. I was excited to pick her brain and of course I was excited to tell her that I was getting licensed for foster care. Once those words left my lips, Karyn gently turned and put her hands on my shoulders and looked me directly in the eyes. She said, “You had better be called!” I was taken aback by her response. I thought she of all people would be excited that I was headed down this road. She looked at me again and said, “Are you sure? You had better make sure, or you won't make it.”
I think about this question often when people tell me they want to foster or adopt. Dr. Purvis was certainly right!! I currently have 2 foster boys, one is 11 and the other is 14. They are half brothers and are certainly handsome! These past 5 months have been the hardest thing that I have ever gone through. I wish I could tell you that the hard part is over and that I see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that we are a happy family, well adjusted and grateful for what God is doing in our lives, but that is a lie. There are many days, many more than I care to admit, where I am done. I want to throw in the towel and call it quits. I fantasize about my life before I had the boys. I want so badly to go back there. But then I am reminded that I love because He first loved me. He has called me to this.
As excited as I was to do this, this is not how I pictured it all going down. So much yelling, so many objects being thrown, and I can't tell you the amount of times I have heard, “I hate you, get out of my life.” Every child is different, every family is different – but adopting or fostering a child is hard. It is not for the faint of heart. Please make sure that you are not doing this to fill a void in your own life, because this is not about you. Parenting never is. Not just for your sake, but for the sake of the child. The last thing they need is to fail or be given up on in another home. My 11 year screams “Why don't you just kick me out then?” at me all the time. He is ready for someone to bail on him because that has been the story of his life. And trust me, there are days I want to, but I can't because all I can picture is my Savior and how he as never left me.
So if you want to foster or adopt, especially older children (which is a huge need and a great picture of the gospel), take time to prepare and be sure. Spend lots of time praying and seeking counsel from your community. If you want to test the waters, babysit for a friend who has foster kids. Do it for more than a couple of hours – try a weekend. This is super helpful to them and will start giving you an idea of what life could be like. Also, make sure you have support built in. Get your community involved. I could not do this without all the support I am getting (people cleaning my house, providing meals, surprising me with Sonic, watching the boys for free, etc). I am not trying to discourage you, this is a HUGE need. I just don't want you to think that it is going to be all cute and fun – like every adoption montage I have seen. I think there is a level of pain that not many others can empathize with so you will need help. And if you still feel God calling you and you see Him working it out for you, do it! Because as hard as it is, there is also joy in the trial and you will know and experience our God in so many new ways.
Becca is a 30 year old, single foster mom. She currently has 2 foster boys ages 14 and 11. She is a native Texan, but God took her to his second favorite state, Colorado for her high school years. He has since brought her back to Texas where she worked at Pine Cove Camps before coming on staff as a children's minister at The Austin Stone. Becca is known not only for her love of theology and kiddos, but is also known to cause fun and lots of mischief along the way.
SOOOO well put, Becca! Excellent advice!
I just posted pretty much the same thing on my blog a few days ago, just not as eloquently. It’s a tough journey. So glad to be walking through it with you.
Becca, thank you so much for sharing! I too am a 30 year old single foster mom. I am just two weeks into my first placement and feel like I have learned enough to write volumes! In 2010 my sister was diagnosed with cancer and I watched and helped her through that battle. I tell people that these past two weeks with my foster kid have been harder than that. 🙂 You have put into words what I have felt every day. Thank you for encouraging me that I am not crazy. Fostering is incredibly hard but I would not trade my 8 year old foster child for the world. I would love to chat with you more about your experience.