We are not seasoned foster parents. We may have done this once before but we are still newbies. So we don’t really have a lot of wisdom yet. But I would like to share some of our experiences thus far for other newbies or for those considering foster parenting.
Prepare to be unprepared.
We can plan, read, receive counsel and training until the cows come home but when you enter into a new season with unfamiliar dynamics there will absolutely be things that catch you off guard. Just like marriage or having your own children when the unexpected arises you might be tempted to wonder if you were “ready for this”. Satan would be the one whispering that lie to you. God called you to this, he is sovereign, you didn’t make a mistake, and he will equip you for every good work.
One thing that surprised me when the boys came to us is it really threw Jason and I off kilter. Obviously I expected that to happen to some degree with us all, more so with our kids. But for two weeks I felt like he and I were on two different planets. He was doing his thing, I was doing mine and I began having thoughts like “Umm, I thought we were doing this foster parenting thing together?” Jason’s always worked very hard, usually owning his own business, which allows me to stay home with our children. Naturally with me staying home I do a lot of the “leg work” within the home; cooking, cleaning, teaching, correcting, bathing, reminding, directing, etc. That is how it’s always been with our children and it’s always worked. But taking in two babies to make a total of five was a huge adjustment for me and I needed help. At first I tried to maintain all the order on my own. This only led to resentment and exhaustion. I started breaking down. I tried making it about Jason knowing what I needed from him. Isn’t it obvious?? Maybe. But God had something else in mind. After a few emotional conversations I finally realized that I needed to be humble enough to ask for help in whatever specific areas I needed it and also inquire about Jason’s needs as well. Now the doors of communication are open. The Lord has been gentle, faithful and definitely working on both mine and Jason’s heart.
For any other newbies out there: Be patient, be humble, and be open with your spouse about each other’s needs. Jason helps me by doing the bulk of grocery shopping or helping clean house. Since he’s not much of a newborn kind of dad you won’t see him doing night time feedings. But he will do breakfast with the other kiddos so I can possibly sleep an extra hour if I need it. He’s also great at taking the kids on car rides or to play outside just to give me some quiet time. We also try to make it a point to connect with each other on a more intimate level 2-3 nights a week. This is crucial! We are better parents when we are emotionally, spiritually, and physically connecting with each other. Every family will have different dynamics. Don’t be discouraged if you feel like you aren’t on the same sheet of music yet. It may take some time to figure out new schedules, roles and responsibilities but keep communicating and openly discussing what works and doesn’t work for each of you.
“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.” 1 Peter 5:6-9 NLT