My husband, a lover of good conversation, put me on the hot seat with several questions for a foster mom.
The Hot Seat
My husband loves asking questions. He’s the question master. So, in preparation for sharing more of our journey, he suggested addressing some hard but important questions about our journey. So here I am, on the hot seat. Let’s jump right in with five questions from Correy.
When you were asked to share our journey with Newsymom, what were you most excited to write about and what did you feel might be the most challenging?
I immediately thought of the many ways to address the stigma of children in foster care. I’ve written about it in a couple different ways now. Sharing ways to empower, understand, and encourage kids in foster care is becoming a passion of mine. On the other hand, it’s also very important to me to protect the story and privacy of the kids in our care.
Balancing what to share and what not to share has been a difficult line to walk. It’s important to me to educate others, but even more important to me that these kids are respected and able to tell their own story if and when they choose. Specific examples I have shared are things I’ve talked about with the kids and feel comfortable providing as examples without giving individual details into their lives.
If you could go back to yourself in February of 2021, right before the kids showed up, what would you say to yourself?
I would tell myself that this journey will be so much easier and so much harder than I ever thought. I know as we continue this journey I’ll look back to today and likely feel the same way about whatever comes next. Ultimately, the kids are so worth the pain, heartache, and exhaustion. However, it’s still a reality. As a foster family that is still in the midst of our first placement, there are many things we haven’t faced yet. We have had many things go smoothly with these kids that I know don’t always work out the same way.
On the other hand, going from having no children of our own, to having four young kids in our care with unique needs has been a whirlwind. I couldn’t have prepared any better for it. We just continue to adjust to the way our lives have changed and do so with joy and gratitude. Our heart was to welcome kids just like these into our home, and we are living in answered prayers. I didn’t know how hard it would be to see that sometimes though when things felt so heavy and difficult.
How has your faith grown these past 18 months as a first-time foster mother? In what areas are you wanting to get better in trusting God?
This entire journey has been a testing and pushing towards the realization that I can’t do any of this alone. I look around our home and see all the evidence of how our loving Father has provided for this journey. He has used our community to make this life possible. They have stepped in and delivered through all of our shortcomings. My trust has grown that He sees our weaknesses and makes Himself known in His provision.
As we continue forward, I’m working on my own patience and limits. I know He can do all things, so I don’t have to. I need to trust that when I say no to something that is outside of what I’m capable of, He will provide. If it’s a job I turn down, I need to trust that lost income will be okay. If I say no to helping to serve in some capacity, I need to trust He’ll bring someone else to fill that need. I can’t do it all. But He can.
What are your thoughts and feelings on anyone that takes advantage of the foster system for any kind of personal gain? How has your heart changed toward them?
I feel incredibly fortunate and proud that I have not had to witness this up close. There are certainly people out there that start this journey for the wrong reasons. However, our local fostering community is full of so many incredibly kind and caring people. Every time we have had to utilize respite for our kids, we have met another family on journeys just like ours with welcoming homes and huge hearts.
It’s true that foster parents receive stipends for the kids in their care. This is to assist with the expenses of providing what they need. However, those that do this work know that the amount doesn’t even come close to covering it all. I can’t imagine what kind of care a child would be receiving if there was true “profit” coming out of those funds for the foster parents. It hurts my heart to know there are people like that out there, but I’m encouraged by the quality and integrity I have seen both in the other foster families we’ve encountered, and the agencies we’ve worked with to recruit and license the right people.
How has our marriage been an encouragement to this fostering journey and what has been the hardest things to work through?
I cannot imagine doing this journey alone. I know there are single people that are incredible foster parents. Being single is absolutely not a reason to put off getting a foster care license if it is on your heart. However, I know myself. I am introverted and reserved. I get “peopled” out. I’ve always wanted to be a mother, but I was also afraid of not being able to offer all the care and attention that a child needed. Over time, I have learned that is a common fear. But we as moms have so much more in us than we know. We rise to the occasion for the sake of our kids. However, having Correy to point that out in me and encourage me in that has been everything. We both get to see the way the other is growing as a parent and champion the things we do not see ourselves. There’s something special about watching your spouse grow as a person through parenthood.
On the other hand, this journey has been so hard on us and our marriage. We spent the first seven years of our marriage together, just us. Then, having four kids added to our everyday life overnight has made it so difficult to find time together. We didn’t know what we had until we found ourselves fighting for just 30 minutes together. We are getting better, but adjusting to this life has taken time and intentional steps. He is way better at it than I am, but I’m so thankful for his persistence and priority of keeping our marriage strong and loving each other well.