Well she came and she went. And that's how it goes.
The coming and going: kiddos and pieces of our hearts.
She was generous, kind and helpful. She played games and painted rainbows and pulled younger ones on make-shift-scooter-cars. She helped clear the dishes and made friends and organized teams.
Our first foster care experience was a short one. (We provided Respite Care - housing a child already in a foster home. The family needed extra care and help for a few days and we could do it!)
-the sharing, the laughing, the opening of our home, widening our table, widening our hearts.
-the freedom to let my kids play on their own in other rooms; when you don't know a new child you've got to be watchful.
-sleep; longer bedtime routines and a very early departure time for her in the morning.
-routine; she was a school-aged child but was from a different city, so was home with me and the other two. Not normal.
-internal stress; "Am I asking the right questions? Am I giving her what she needs? Is a hug in order right now? Do I let that word we don't use slide?"
-We didn't foster alone. I immediately had about 5 messages from other foster moms in my town, 3 just in my neighborhood alone, asking how we were doing and what we needed! Fostering in community is the best way to foster.
-Those who are not licensed foster care families were also in it with us: encouragement, helping, rolling with it, joining the fun. It doesn't take a license - it takes a heart posture. Having support families is beautiful and shares the load.
-Whether 2 days or 2 years, it takes faith. I found myself comparing my experience to those who have had foster children in their home for going on 2 years. What is the point of that? Comparison robs and steals and it's far from the point. Having a child in your home that is not yours, for any amount of time, takes faith. Yes, our heart investment was minimal compared to months - but it all takes a step of faith to start.
-The Why Are We Doing This was clearer: I came from a healthy, fun, secure home (thanks mom and dad!) and we would love to share that. Our kids have seen it modeled and have wanted to open our home (thanks Fostering Friends!). Rob and I have felt God nudge us to trust Him and love children in this way, to love the orphan this way. There are a lot of ways - this is a route we have chosen - for this season.
I am proud of our foster child; she was transported and shuffled and adapted really well.
I am proud of my children; my middle offered to share her goldfish, her clothing and her beloved Pooh Bear.
I am proud of my husband; he joked with her and parented her and was a softy in all the right ways.
I am proud of my neighbors and friends; they loved her and us and treated each person involved with beauty, dignity and respect.
Today's printable goes out to those who have something in front of them that seems a bit scary, a bit out of their comfort zone, a bit faith-stretching. From relationship repair to job opportunities.....thank you, Emerson.