i hear the same questions over and over about our foster care experience. i thought i would answer some of them here in case you are interested:
wow, you've got your hands full. how do you handle it all?
yes, our hands are full. full of blessings.
[thanks to rachel jankovic's book "loving the little years" for finally giving me a good response to the "you've got your hands full" comment i hear whenever i go out"!]
we are a bit ambitious. its partially because of reading this story of a 21 year old mother of 14 kids the day before our first placement, and partially because jesus has a habit of leading us to do crazy things. our first foster placement was four young siblings, ages 1, 2, 3 and 4. currently we have two babies, a 12 month bio baby and a 1 month foster baby. so, in both of these situations people have (rightly) assumed that my days are busy taking care of little people.
on one level, we can only do it by God's grace: he give the energy and patience to make it all happen.
on another level, it helps that i value efficiency and organization, especially since foster kids require more time/energy/effort than typical kids for a number of reasons (extra doctors appointments, a constant flow of paperwork, driving to and from visits with birth parents). i think God did create me as a fairly high capacity person (by his grace) which enables me to take on the care of multiple littles.
but don't get the impression that its easy! it does require a lot of sacrifice, especially of my time. i don't get a lot of "me" time, and i am ok with that. i'm only on the internet once or twice on a typical day, and i'm not great about returning phone calls. i love to read, but i read much less now than before kids.
what made you decide to do foster care?
Here is a post about why we want to adopt and here is a post about why we are choosing to do it through the foster care system.
is it hard to see them go?
of course it is.
if you don't get attached to the children in your care, then you are holding back part of your heart and not fully loving them. this is especially true because we really want to adopt, but the kids that have come into our home have gone back with their biological parents (that seems to be the route that things are headed with our 1 month old baby girl, but that is a subject for another post).
my first foster baby girl will always be my first baby girl in my heart, even though esther is my first baby girl who is really ours ("really ours" isn't synonymous with biological. if she was adopted she would also be really ours. it bugs me when people different between your adopted kids and the ones that are "really" yours). i still think about her a lot. when esther was first born, i used to call esther the other baby girl's name frequently.
the pastor of our church in columbus made a good point once. he said that jesus calls us to do things that will get our heart broken. but he also promises to bind up the brokenhearted (psalm 147:3 and isaiah 61:1). jesus pours into us so that we can pour out to them.
we can put our heart out there to love these kids and get it broken when they leave because of jesus. period. there is no other reason.