As we move through this process reality is setting in for us as well as our family and friends. Several years ago, while reading one of many books on foster care and adoption I came across a book that suggested that you begin the dialogue with family, friends, bosses, and co-workers early and often. My husband and I have shared our experiences with those we are close to and we talk often about what is to come.
This weekend we had the opportunity to visit with my husband’s sister, her husband and two beautiful children. They live about 2 ½ hours away in the neighboring state. We really enjoy spending time with them. Their oldest is six and she is extremely bright and inquisitive.
On Saturday we spent the day at a balloon festival and enjoyed the beautiful weather and time together. The kids enjoyed playing games and riding a few rides. Both children are always well behaved and a joy to be around! During our time with them, we often talk about fostering and what it would look like for us. My brother-in-law even said, well the next time we see you guys it will probably be with children. I smiled as big as could be at the thought of it and for a moment wondered what it would be like. One thing is for sure, they have been wonderfully supportive in our decision.
On Sunday, we ventured to the local zoo. Now, anyone that knows me, knows I am not a zoo person, but we had a wonderful time. As we walked through the zoo, enjoying the perfect weather and time spent with family, we talked about different things and for whatever reason my new found obsession with strollers. After we left the zoo, we headed to our favorite pizza place to enjoy dinner and then we were heading home.
We had finished dinner and were saying our good-byes to everyone and our niece hit us with questions. She wanted to know more and why and how these children would come into our home. My husband and I became quiet as we watched her mom explain it to her. I mean after all, how on earth do you explain foster care to a six year old? My sister-in-law did an amazing job of helping her understand how this works. She explained that sometimes mommy’s and daddy’s need help in caring for their children and that is what her auntie and uncle were doing. Without missing a beat, our niece said, “Oh, so they are orphans and they need someone to take care of them, why aren’t they in an orphanage.” Her mom explained that we do not have orphanages here in the US, but people like her auntie and uncle bring them into their home to live with them and that some of them stay and others go back to their parents. Without any further thought our niece said, “Well I can’t wait to have new cousins to play with!”
Honestly, it doesn’t get much better than that! She may not fully understand the concept, but in her mind, they are her cousins and she wants to play with them. We really couldn’t ask for more than that! It did however make me wonder a little more about how we were going to explain to our nieces and nephews how things work. What happens if/when they are reunified and the countless other things we will deal with in our family.
I do know this much. I am thankful for the family we have been blessed with. So far, those we are close too have been amazing, supportive and helpful. We know there will be lots of questions ahead, lots of challenges and explaining to do, but we know we are supported and loved.
Our hope in talking early and often is that others will be more at ease with our decision to become foster parents. We both agree and feel strongly that we have been called to this ministry and that for this moment in our lives we are to be foster parents. While many around us may feel that it has to do with fertility or infertility that really is not the case. As I have mentioned a few times before, our fertility is undetermined at this point and that is perfectly fine with us. Does my heart ache for a child and do I have days and moments where I am frustrated and upset about the situation… YES, but I have also learned that God’s timing and plans are never ours and His ways are ALWAYS perfect and not for a moment has he forsaken us! So for this moment in our lives, I will not wish and wonder about what is to come, I will put my full faith in a loving God that knows the plans he has for us!
Psalm 37:4 ~ Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.