Caring for others, whether is be a sick parent or child, a friend who’s recovering from surgery, a patient, or foster children is not something you simply do. The act of caring becomes a lifestyle. During the season of caring, be it a few days while someone has the flu or a lifetime of taking in the lost and hurting children of our world, your world revolves around the person or persons your being cared for.
As a foster parent, you go in knowing that there will be changed in your house. many first time foster parents are couples of haven’t had children at all, some have children but want to do more, and of course there’s the rare few idiots who do it for the money they get. No matter the history or circumstances around the decision to care for fosters, the change in your life happens more drastically than it does for anyone who’s carried a child from conception to birth. Often times you get a few hours notice that the children are coming and many times your still trying to put the crib or bed together when the children get there.
Then there’s the changes in schedule. Children, especially toddlers don’t give a flying leap of faith that you like to sleep till 7am…nope they are ready to go at 5:30am and you’d better be too.
Doesn’t sound much different from normal parenting huh? Well throw in case workers, CASA visits, court dates, on going training, visitations, counselors, Dr appointments, therapies, night terrors, separation anxiety, paperwork on EVERYTHING and trying to find the balance of your own attachment and life flips upside down. A year ago we had both planned to continue our careers and simply add the kids to the mix, today in a stay at home dad trying to remember why anything else was ever normal.
It has taken some time, but I truly believe that God has had this planned all along. He knows the best thing an injured and hurting child could have is the love and compassion we can give and the history of where I came from to get here has been God preparing me for this mission.
Is this lifestyle the expected one? Is it normal? No, but then again neither are the things that brought our children to our doorstep. This is a God-made lifestyle, and I only hope I’m able to keep my focus on Him as he uses me to complete the task of healing His children.