One of the most common things we've heard as foster parents is "I could never do that" and then there are various phrases that follow that one. "I would get too attached", "I couldn't love someone else's child like my own", "I don't have the patience", "It would be too hard on my kids", "We don't have enough room", and the list goes on. Now, I am NOT saying none of these are valid concerns, but for some reason the whole "I could never do that" thing bothers me.
I think it is because often when people begin this train of thought it ends with painting us as saints. All I can tell you is that it hurts, it hurts to let a child you love go back to a situation you know isn't ideal, but in the end we can do what we can do and we are doing just that. God calls us to enter into the pain of others and love them right there and fostering is that at its core. God never tells us to protect ourselves from pain. There is a purpose to this pain and our family has learned long ago, we are never promised a tomorrow even with our own kids.
We are not saints, we don't have superhuman patience, we live in an 1100 square foot home, my kids are flourishing and growing in ways we could only have dreamed, and we love these children though they are not ours, because in truth we've also learned that no child is ours, they all belong to the Lord and what we do unto his people we do unto him, so we are called to love them and give them all we've got. We are all called to do that in different ways and in this season, our way is fostering.
I fully understand that not everyone is called to foster care and that is okay. We have been, I have no idea for how long or how this whole thing is going to go, but we've had four placements and our current placement looks to be a longer one...as we go about daily life as foster parents we've had to really examine things...it is exhausting parenting two children under one in addition to the other three God has blessed us with, but ultimately, we know God has placed each of them in this home and we will endure a little sleep deprivation and exhaustion for this season, simply because it is worth it.
It is more than worth the cost to sit up rocking a sweet one at night who hasn't known such security, who has endured more in a few weeks than many endure in a few years. Some days I want to "quit", most days I fail miserably, but the Lord reminds me to dust myself off and get back on the proverbial pony. It has been my experience that in the pain there is a purpose and that purpose is so much greater than we can imagine, and therefore worth every tear. When you open yourself up to give of yourself freely each day, to pour yourself out upon these little ones as He pours out upon us, there is a joy and a peace that I cannot even explain. I am more tired than I've likely ever been and also more at peace and content than ever before.
Sometimes He calls us to fall in love, to parent a child for hours, days weeks, months, years, and then the child is taken away, I didn't have to be a foster mom to experience that, I experienced that with my own flesh and blood, and though those were some of my most painful moments, they were also my most grace filled, tangible God moments I've had, and I am finding foster care to be much the same. We put our heart on the line knowing full well it might break...that is parenting, and it is worth all of it and He meets us there. We are not miraculous, extraordinary or super parents. We are broken, ordinary, flawed parents. We could never do this either...but for the Grace of God. His grace goes before us each day and makes it new, He give us the strength, the courage and the resources for all we need...and in Him we are able to do things we never could do otherwise.
So, honestly, when it comes to foster parenting, "I could never do that either", but it is where He's called me and we are merely being obedient. His plans for us are good and He is making it happen and I am SO grateful because it is SO worth every tear, heartache, worry, fear and inconvenience.