|Our Wonderful Kids|
May is National Foster Care Awareness Month.
I plan to blog this month about foster care and our experience. Lauren, Natalie and Josh gave us a picture this past Christmas of the kids we have fostered the last couple of years. The verse included is James 1:27. It hangs on a wall in our home to remind us of our ministry to “the least of these.” We will be adding to the collage in the years to come.
Recently, a friend of mine began the journey of foster care. She has a teenage son still at home and asked if our son Josh would be willing to share his experience of being a brother to foster siblings. Sharing his words is a great way to begin my posts this month. Following is what Josh wrote to Peter, who is becoming a foster brother. (No editing. No “filters”.)
My family has fostered a total of seven children. Our many adventures with these children has helped us all bond. Each one makes all of them a part of this family. The hardest part the foster care has been letting them go. Bryson was the first we had to let go after we had him for 18 months. In these months we bonded over building tents, mowing the grass, eating together, and my favorite was potty training!! These are some of the good things that happen together. But they weren’t all good. There are also some things that weren’t good to happen. There were times he would throw temper tantrums because he did not get his way. It was hard to love him when that happened, but we did anyway. I would say that these were the moments when we would grow together the most.
I’ve heard many of my coaches say “the more you put into something the harder it will be to quit.” This not only applies to sports but to life in general and especially fostering. Anything that we stick with that gets hard becomes more important to us because we feel we sacrificed to get it. There is no point in sacrificing something you plan on quitting. Your input makes you wish you can stick around for the output. When foster siblings become difficult, we continue to show love because this is what makes us different. The normal reason a child is in foster care is because of a lack of love somewhere along the way. If we show them love, we show them Christ. This is why our family does foster care. This is also what makes it so hard – because we do not get to adopt them and keep them. This was the hard part about Bryson. The entire time we had him, I hoped we would keep him. In the end we didn’t get to.
My advice to you overall is to love them. Make them your family and invest in them, but don’t expect to keep them. The only place guaranteed you can keep them is in your heart.