May is National Foster Care Month.
I ask you to consider your current situation and explore whether fostering a child (or 2 or 3 :)) could become part of your life's path. It sure changed our world in ways we never expected or dreamed. It created our family as it is today. There is such a need. I understand that it is not for everyone, nor is it the right time for everyone, but don't count it out. There was a time that I thought we could never be a foster family. God again showed us that his plan for our lives and for our family was much different than what ours was...and as we know, HIS plan is always better. :) Not always easier, but the right one.
Local foster families were asked to submit their foster stories if they wished to be published on the Iowa Kidsnet blog throughout this month. The story was to be a "Why did we become a foster family?" story. I thought I would share my submission here...
Why did we become a foster family? Honestly? We started the process for selfish reasons at first. We wanted to grow our family, we wanted more children. We had adopted once before and knew we were called to be adoptive parents; we have a heart for adoption. We wanted to foster a healthy child, preferably a baby who needed a home, who we could eventually adopt. Then we were slapped in the face with reality. And the reality is that our hearts were changed…they were broken. We were presented in training with the need that exists, and with more than just statistics, with real life stories…heartbreaking stories and also stories of hope and redemption. These stories, these realities, they made us different people; they made us not only want to become a foster family, but made us realize that we needed to. We couldn’t turn back because the situation was likely not going to be the easy process where we would save a little baby like many hope it will be. It is far from that. It is so much more. And the rewards…well, they have been beyond words. I couldn’t write the appropriate words that would do justice to what wonderful blessings taking this path has provided us with.
Becoming a foster family and eventually adopting 2 more sons through the process has blessed us in ways we could have never dreamed. No, we didn’t get the perfectly healthy babies we had originally dreamed about in our minds. Rather, we fostered and adopted a perfectly incredible 1 and 3 year old who we now are beyond honored to call our sons…forever. They ARE perfect, they ARE “our babies”, and they ARE our sons…forever. Cason came to us with needs beyond anything we could have ever dreamed we were capable of dealing with and yet he has shown us that we actually NEEDED him. And Wesley came to us only a few weeks after that with a whole different set of needs that we again never knew we would be able to handle and yet, we realized just as quickly that we were capable and that we wanted to take care of every need these boys had. We needed them just as much as they needed us. We needed our hearts to feel, we needed to know first-hand what was out there so that we could do our part. It’s an honor to do our part and in the end…WE were the ones who have been blessed by these 2 perfect children for our family.
It was hard; it was overwhelming, emotional, scary and stressful. Isn’t that just what parenting is? Fostering these boys was the hardest thing our family has endured together. It was hard on our oldest son, Tate, it was a roller coaster, I cried many nights as I worried about our boys and cried many days when I had to turn away accepting more children into our home because our plate was just too full. I begged so many family and friends to join with us, become a foster family. All we wanted was to see each of these children in loving wonderful homes for this trying time in their lives or even forever. It is not an easy path to take. It is worth it…beyond worth it. While it was the hardest thing we have endured as a family, it was also the most rewarding thing we have endured. It has made us stronger, it has opened our eyes and hearts to a whole new world that we are so grateful we get to be a part of. If it was easy to feel so incredibly rewarded and blessed by something…everyone would do it. It’s not easy, but it has provided us with a fulfillment and joy and a family that we wouldn’t have ever been able to have without it. Becoming a foster family CREATED our family and we could never put into words how unbelievable grateful we are for that!