We're now two weeks into our classes to get certified for foster parenting (PRIDE training). We've learned a lot in these past few weeks. One of the most important things we learned was that the foster care system is not an adoption agency. Our teacher actually said this on the first day of class. Oops. We went into this thinking that we would be focused on adopting, although it would be from a pool of foster children who normally are passed over by those seeking traditional domestic adoptions. We thought maybe we'd have a few kids for a few short stays of care, and then after a few months we'd find the child who would become our own. Wrong.
The way it actually works is that we could have a child for two years before parental rights are terminated. We could have a child for two years and then they get reunified with their birthparents. We could have a child for a few days and then they get reunified with their parents. Reunification happens in ninety percent of cases. And in that other ten percent where parental rights are terminated, it may not happen for a very long time, since the process of going through the courts is crazy circus act. So, foster care is not an adoption agency.
Another major thing we learned, that really should be obvious, is that the foster care system's main objective is to reunify children with their birthparents. This means that a part of our job will be to take our foster child(ren) to visits with their parent(s), and we can even form relationships with the parents. For the first time this would put us into regular contact with people who are likely very different from us and need Christ's love.
The crazy thing is, we're okay with this. In a way we never would have predicted even a month ago, our hearts have made a 90 degree turn on a dime. We are content... no, excited... to become foster parents and welcome children into our home for whatever length of stay they need, even if it doesn't result in adoption. We still hope to adopt someday, and we hope that at some point a child will come along who could stay and become our own. But we're at peace with the fact that this may not happen for a long time. And in the meantime, God can use us to bless and nurture many kids (and even their parents) along the way.
To be completely honest, it's not all been selfless sunshine and rainbows over here. The fact that I'll likely never have another biological child is something that has been hitting me slowly over the past week. I've had moments were I become envious of those who are able to decide when and how many children they want. But in those moments, the Holy Spirit has been faithful to remind me of God's word, and the Lord has drawn me close to himself. In those moments, I am able to place all those cares on him and repent of my covetousness.
The Bible verse we've most often been turning to lately is this one:
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5
We ask for your prayers, that God would give us wisdom along this path, and that he would use us for his purposes and his glory, and that he would align our hearts with his.