foster parenting

“We think God is telling us to foster and maybe adopt.”

I listen excitedly as my friend surprises me with this new direction God has very suddenly given their family.

“I’m scared,” she says. “But I’m more scared not to do what God is telling us to do. We’re going to walk where He leads. We’re doing this.”

“You may just have to do it scared,” I tell her.

She knows this. They’re moving forward, clinging to the Lord for peace and guidance.

_____________

It was a serious conversation, but it made me downright giddy. It’s an enormously happy thing to me. And I wasn’t rattled by the ensuing “freak-out moment” phone calls she made over the next few weeks. Those are normal.

“Can I actually do the baby thing again? It’s been so long. Am I too old for this?”

“Training is more emotionally draining than I expected. Can I survive this part? How much can we handle?”

“I feel like throwing up. The agency said we’re almost ready. This is happening so fast! Is it too fast? I want to throw up.”

All to be expected.

And I’m loving this gift of walking alongside her. I love seeing when God redirects us and all of a sudden plants in our hearts a desire that wasn’t there before. True, it’s a little scary when it happens to you and a lot more fun to watch in someone else! But I love her story because in many ways it’s been mine too. Though we’d planned to adopt for a while, the idea of doing it by way of fostering never really crossed our minds. I guess it just didn’t feel right.

Until one day it did.

Unexpected redirection. In a day. In two days, completely confirmed. One step forward. Are we really doing this? Another step forward. God spoke. How could we not keep going? Then – all in. We jumped all the way in. It wasn’t long at all until the “fast” made sense. Turns out God had a plan and His timing remarkably specific. Always is.

Walking with my friend through this part of her journey and recalling the way God moved my husband and I to foster and adopt, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the lessons I learned early on in the process – the truths that mostly grounded me when everything seemed uncertain and crazy. These are the things I love to share with friends starting out as foster parents or those wanting to know more of what it’s really like.

There are tons of discussions we could have about practical tips and survival skills for fostering, but I really want to talk about the heart:

How can we prepare our hearts for fostering?

Join me on Mondays and Thursdays for the next three weeks as we look at five ways to prepare your heart to be a foster parent:

1. Cultivating a Heart for the Orphan

2. All About Surrender

3. Counting on Providence

4. Praying Your Way Through It

5. Guard Your Heart??

May is National Foster Care Month and I happen to love it, so we’re going to be talking about this for a while here at Simply Grace. Please, please let me know if there are any questions you have about fostering. I’m talking about the “What’s it really like?” questions. There are countless things you figure out about fostering from other fostering friends. There’s so much that never gets covered in an official training session. Fostering friends love to help each other out in this way, passing on our experiences because, really, they are all so varied and it takes many different perspectives to really prepare us. So ask away – it can be anything! Feel free to send questions by email or commenting here.

Come back Thursday as we discuss how to even begin to develop the right heart for the orphan and oppressed child.