My experience has been that fostering is all about surrender. If you decide to walk this road, God will ask you to say “yes” to some things before you even know what you’re saying “yes” to. You rarely know what you’re going to get. It’s moving forward, then discovering what’s in store after it’s already happened.
So much of the time, fostering is a plan uncovered in hindsight.
No one can predict what you will face as a foster parent. My fostering friends’ experiences have run the gamut of surprises:
- finding out God wants you to adopt THIS CHILD that you never dreamed would be yours
- finding out He’s asking you to say good-bye to the child you wanted and pictured as your own
- finding out your “easy” experienced turned hard fast when the child you adopted is suddenly dealing with their past and grief in unhealthy ways and needs help beyond what you feel capable to provide
- finding out you’re being asked if you’ll adopt the three siblings you were preparing to send on to a new family….the same week you find out you’re pregnant
- finding out the foster child you’re adopting has a new sibling needing a home, and you’re welcoming another child you never planned on bringing into your family
For every friend in the above situations, what God asked them to do in the end differed from their original expectations.
I won’t pretend this isn’t a scary thought. Who wants to be blindsided and agonize in prayer as we wrestle through our confusion?!
It is scary. But it’s only a bad thing if you can’t trust the heart of God to be good. If you don’t know Him intimately, if you haven’t walked a road paved with reasons why He’s trustworthy, then this It’s-All-About-Surrender declaration isn’t good news at all. But if you place your faith in His desire to provide for you what is best, this realization carries with the fearful feelings a joy and peace that comforts an uncertain heart.
Fostering teaches you that it’s okay not to know things. You’ll be pressed to believe that it’s enough to know the One who does.
Don’t waste time imagining all of the “what if…??” scenarios you might encounter. It may be that the heart-preparation you need is found in doing business with your fears and getting honest with God about any control-freak issues residing in your heart. Ask Him to help you know more grace in this place of uncertainty. Seek Jesus for power to say yes to the one next step He’s revealed and to surrender the need to know what the other steps will be. He’s a God whose usual method of leading one-step-at-a-time proves wise and comforting, as our security and confidence become more deeply rooted in His character and love.
Please come back Thursday as we take a deeper look at one of those characteristics – His providence – and how central it is to enduring the foster parent life.
If you missed the intro to our series How to Prepare Your Heart to Foster, you can catch it here and find links to the ways previously discussed. Join us Mondays and Thursdays these next couple of weeks as we continue. Bring any questions you have or thoughts from your own personal experience, past or present, as a foster parent, so we can learn from each other!