Clearly I haven’t blogged in…years, and most blogs have been replaced with stories and snaps and whatever else, but I have had these words on my heart lately. So, I am going to get them out in hopes that they can possibly reach someone else or at the very least, I hope to have more space in my head.
Those that are close to us know that a good part of our 2018 was spent working toward becoming a foster family. Foster care has been on our hearts for years and we have just been waiting on God’s timing for when we would be able to really start pursuing it. Long story short (although, I’d share the long story long with you if you’re interested), we filled out the paperwork, we did the trainings, we logged the hours, we answered the questions, and then we waited.
So much of foster care, from what I’ve experience and what I’ve been told, is a cycle of hurry up and wait. It’s expected and it’s normal, but it’s hard. We were told we *could* be licensed within 2-4 weeks of our paperwork being handed. Basically as soon as we passed that 2 week mark I have tried to constantly have my phone on me and any time a local number calls, I compose myself/step away from the chaotic noise that is usually around me and give my very best, professional “hello?” as SURELY this will be THE call. Aaaand then it’s just a solicitor telling me I can get a prescription brace for free or have $11,000 toward my federal loans. Thanks. It feels a little like back in the day when there was ONE PHONE LINE and you were waiting for a very important call and the landline (look it up, kids) rings and it is NOT the very important call. Like, “How DARE you take up this line and prevent all the other calls from coming in? Don’t you know better?”.
It took closer to 7 weeks to hear that we were officially licensed (on December 12) which was a very exciting day followed by, you guessed it, more waiting.
I’m not that far into my journey as a foster mom–not sure if I even qualify as a foster mom since I do not have a foster child. Over the past year I have tried to immerse myself in as much as possible of the foster world, I have read blogs, followed Instagram accounts, listened to podcasts, read books (okay, truth be told I read part of one book, but more reading’s on my list), attended fundraisers, etc. Not to mention the 30+ hours of training that we went to and the invaluable advice we have received from several friends and family members that are current or former foster parents. Yet, I feel like I’m still on the outskirts of the foster world. It would be foolish of me to think I understand what it’s like before actually experiencing it.
Still, living in this in-between space allows us to try further prepare our hearts and our home and learn to rest in God in the waiting season. It has given us a tiny taste of the both/and in this life. Our lives are not lived in clear boxes marked either/or–they are both/and. Pain AND joy. Excitement AND grief. Tense waiting AND normal routine.
It feels a bit like when I was at the end of each of my pregnancies with our bio kids, knowing that we could meet our new family member any day or that it could be several more weeks or even months. Obviously the analogy breaks down since we are not expecting OUR child, but instead waiting to love on someone else’s child, but some of the feelings are the same.
We’re waiting on a phone call that will change our lives as we know them. You don’t always have the foreknowledge that a life-changing call is coming, but we know that it might come at any moment…or it might not. When I stop to really think about it, my chest tends to tighten and my breath catches in my throat, but I know that I can’t stay in that place because, you know, breathing is essential to being a living human.
So, we keep going with our lives as they are, knowing that at any moment they might change and our family might grow for an unknown amount of time. We make plans with the constant disclaimer that they might be broken. We keep our hearts open to the phone call, to the “yes”.
God has been teaching me a lot in this waiting season, and I feel as though I keep hearing more and more on the topic all around me. So many are waiting. God has a purpose and a plan in the wait. It is not an accident and He has never forgotten you.
Disclaimer: (because I may or may not be an Enneagram 9 and constantly worry that I might offend or be misinterpreted by my words). This is all written from my perspective, as a potential foster mama. I hope none of it came across as complaining or being insensitive to kids in foster care or their families. I have loads to say about them, but again, not the experience and so it feels best to hold my peace on that part for now. I was encouraged by others’ sharing their stories and experiences with foster care, and my hope is that I can do the same by sharing bits of our journey as well.