I’m not sure if I have written about this topic before. I vaguely remember mentioning it before, but I don’t think I’ve dedicated an entire post to it before. I could be wrong though.. I can barely remember anything these days.
Either way, I need to talk about it again. I need to talk about our family. Our friends. This time last year, we were telling our family and friends over Christmas break that we were going to become foster parents. That’s how we said it: We wanted to let you all know that we are beginning the process of becoming foster parents. We didn’t ask them if it was okay with them, we didn’t ask them what their role would be. Of course, we wanted their opinions and support, but whether or not we pursued it was not up for discussion.
A year later, and we’ve already had five children come into our lives. It’s crazy to think about. And you know who has been greatly affected by it? Our families. I never thought about it, really. When we said goodbye to little love.. our parents said goodbye too. My dad still talks about how much he loved her. In fact, someone in my life seems to mention her almost every other day. My point is that our parents didn’t sign up for this. We did. We decided we would suffer through goodbyes if it meant following Gods calling for our lives. We decided we would spend lots of money on diapers and formula and babysitters. We decided that we would deal with doctors appointments, therapies, visits with parents, social workers, home visits, and about a million others things. We knew it would change OUR lives drastically. We knew we would make sacrifices when it came to time and friendships and sleep. We talked about all the “costs,” but were really quick to determine that loving these kids was worth it all.
Our families and friends didn’t get to make that decision. They didn’t get the chance to say, “Hey, I’m okay with it too.. I think I can say goodbye. I think I can get attached and heal too. I think I can make sacrifices too.” I don’t know what I would have done differently. I guess I would have made this decision more of a group one and more of a conversation, but honestly, I know the outcome would be the same. My point of it all is, even though they didn’t choose this life, they are in it with us. SO many of you are in it with us. And I couldn’t be more thankful. I am torn between feeling guilty for bringing so many along for this crazy difficult ride, and feeling thrilled to see people coming together to love and support children in need.
My husband has worked seriously like 24 of the last 36 hours. And it’s continuing today. He also was really sick right before that. You know how my family responded? Welcoming the girls with open arms. Letting me get my first full night sleep since they’ve been here. Changing dirty diapers. Changing dirty diapers 10 minute later when they pooped again. My parents.. who already raised three girls. They are way past this stage, and yet they are willing to wake up every three hours two nights in a row because they know we need a break. Oh and let’s not forget that my husbands parents have let us borrow their cars with no notice when we call them freaking out because SOMETHING else went wrong and/or broke in our lives. The struggle is real in that department. Thank goodness for rentals.
My sisters. My younger sister babysits. All. the. time. My older sister does not live in this country, but she was home when we had little love. She took her to the doctor with me, she waited hours for medicine with me, she played musical instruments with her and loved her (even if she doesn’t like most kids). Both of them have made sacrifices, both of them have had to say goodbyes, both of them have had to see the harsh reality of what foster care is and how it affects these children.
Our friends. Whether it’s play dates, emotional support, sending food, making us dinner, offering to come over and watch the babies so I can take a nap, they are there. Our friends have rallied around us in such amazing ways. My friends at work have basically provided clothing for all of the foster children we have had. They’ve donated TONS of things to the Village. They have printed sub plans, helped with my students, kept me on track when things come up and I’m having a hard time at work. They’re never mad when we bail on something, or when we have to have children tag along on our time together.
I guess what I am trying to say is this: My husband and I made this huge decision that we thought would change OUR lives dramatically. Neither one of us really thought about others in our lives. Sounds pretty selfish. I didn’t consider the tears that would come from my family when we had to say goodbye. I didn’t consider what they would have to sacrifice in order to be there for us and to support us. But here everyone is… sacrificing and supporting. I know this blog post can’t possibly explain the gratitude that I feel.. but it’s a start. Foster parenting takes more than just two people. I am so thankful for all the people in our lives that have joined us in foster parenting. It’s changed our lives in a huge way.