I have a few minutes before the kids get home from school so I wanted to sort through my thoughts a bit. Since Zach isn’t here I guess you guys will do. 😉
I got a call yesterday about fostering a little 1 1/2-year-old. In the past we have fostered a newborn and a 9-year-old. The newborn was fun for all of his cute, squishy goodness but a real wake up call -literally- when it came to nighttime feedings and whatnot. Our lives, as it turns out, are so far removed from babies that it was just too much of an adjustment.
The 9-year-old was much the same story. We are not actually “open” to a child that old (we signed on for 0-5) but it turns out they’ll call you on anything. Anything. We’ve had calls ranging from 0 to 17-years-old. True. Story. And for a girl like me, it’s really really hard to say no. No matter if they are a 17-year-old boy with significant issues or a newborn baby with no issues. The 9-year-old was kind of thrust at us, for lack of better term, and we felt unprepared to say no. Mostly because they handed us her contract right in front of her. We loved and cared for her for a week and then she found a more permanent place.
So we’ve learned lots of lessons already, which I guess is good. The hard part for me is our learning has come at the expense of actual children. Having adopted kids from hard places I know what even the smallest of things can do to a child, let alone the constant transitioning between caregivers.
After the 9-year-old I told Zach I wanted to take a break. I felt like it was too much. I had forgotten how hard it was on everyone (and selfishly, on me) to attach to new people. I had forgotten how emotionally draining it is to be everything for a child who has nothing. It. is. hard. And I wanted to be done with it.
But something kept pulling at me. If you’re anything like me, you too constantly gravitate towards comfort. I want things to be easy, I desire stress free environments. Fostering is not easy. There, I said it. The reality is, though, I really do believe we are made to live in tension. Particularly those of us who are blessed to have enough food, clean water, shelter and jobs every day. For those of us who have the basics cared for, I am convinced we are meant to live in a place where we are challenged, always moving forward either on our behalf or neighbors’.
It looks differently for everyone (I’m certainly not one to say everyone should adopt or foster or do the things I’m doing) which is kind of what I love about the whole thing. If we actually act on what pulls us, if we actually do the things that might make us uncomfortable at first but has the potential to change us…well then we really could change the world. Each in our own little ways, each in our own little spheres of influence.
Tomorrow a little girl will get off a plane and come live at camp for awhile. I have no idea for how long and I have no idea what it will look like to have her here. Today I’m going through where she will sleep, where we will put her clothes (where will we get clothes?). But tonight while I try-and fail- to sleep I’ll think about my fears and hopes and dreams and anxieties. Like I do all the time. Whether we have foster children or not.
Because if there’s one thing I know for sure, the tension I’m living in today always results in a breakthrough of sorts. Usually it’s a realization of my own shortcomings but sometimes it’s a revelation that even someone like me-a deeply flawed human-can affect even a little bit of change. I just have to get over myself a bit and allow it to happen naturally on it’s own.
In the meantime I’d take prayers and positive thoughts, not for me but for her-that she might have patience with me. And that she might know regardless, she is a deeply loved human.