Next Tuesday marks our last class of our foster parent training (PRIDE training). The next step is to hand in our application, and then complete our home study. A home study is where a social worker comes to our home and inspects it to make sure it's suitable for children according to the county's regulations. We will also be interviewed. It's looking like it will be one or two more months until we get our first placement, that is, a child who comes to live with us.
When we first started this process, we were wanting to take in children 3 years old. It is general wisdom that it’s best to take in kids younger than one's youngest. But since Ben is still pretty young, we were advised by an experienced foster mom (she's had 55 kids in 16 years!) to only take in non-ambulatory kids. You’re probably thinking, “Non-what?”. This is one of the many new words we've learned over the past 10 weeks; it just means non-walking. So, now we'll be asking for kids around 12 months and under. We plan to adjust the age upwards as our youngest gets older.
This is the "Baby Room", as the boys call it. Originally, we were planning on going with a private Christian foster agency, where the application process would have been streamlined and we could have gotten a placement as early as November. So we got the room set up with that timeline in mind. Since then, we decided not to go with the agency, but to go with the county instead. I did my best to make the room gender-neutral, which is hard given that green and blue have been my go-to colors for the last five years! The crib has been converted to a toddler bed so Ben can still nap in this room. Once our baby comes, the boys will nap together in their room and baby will move in to this room.
God has changed our hearts so dramatically over these past ten weeks that we are now completely focused on and joyful about the likelihood of fostering children for a long time. It could be years until we are placed with a child who would eventually become ours forever. In retrospect, I feel pretty silly thinking about how naïve I was when I wrote this post about adopting a child right away. Now we are looking forward to welcoming babies into our home for as long as they need to be with us. One of our prayers is that God would prepare our hearts to be able to let go of these children when it's their time to be reunited with the parents.
We've been thinking a lot about how our lives are going to change when we start getting children in our home. While we don't really know what it will be like until it happens, we do have a concept that it's probably going to be difficult. In our classes, we've been prepared for many different scenarios of why a child might be removed from the home and what they might be like when they come into our home. Each scenario will require us to give our foster child lots hands-on love and attention. There have been a few times during this process when we've taken a step back and asked ourselves "Do we really want to commit to this? Isn't life hard enough just trying to raise our two boys to be good men? Why are we trying to make life more difficult for ourselves? .... Are we doing the right thing?"
When I start thinking this way, the Lord reminds me that as a follower of Christ, my goal shouldn't be to make my life easier. My desire should be to do what I can to show love to others, in the way that I'm able to in this season of life...even if it messes up my comfy life. Yes, doing foster care will be hard, and I'll probably feel inadequate much of the time. But what a great opportunity to lean on my Savior for the help I'll need. An easy life would make me feel like I've got things under control, I don't have to ask God for help.
Please keep us in prayer over the coming months:
- That God would prepare our hearts for the particular children he has planned for us
- That he would equip us for whatever situation he gives us
- That he would enable us to be joyful through everything!