My husband, Justin, and I have started the long, emotional, and life-changing journey of becoming foster parents. It is important to us that we document this chapter in our life; to share our trials and tribulations and to have transparency with our friends and family.
We discussed the idea of doing foster care for about a year before we started getting our feet wet in the process, and what a process it is! I have a four year old son, P, from a pervious relationship; Justin has stepped into the role of being a parent in such a marvelous way. Justin and I have invested time in developing how we parent together, creating time and space for ourselves, and learning that when things are uncomfortable, it signals an opportunity for growth. P has special needs and requires hours of therapy a week and has stretched our concept of what it means to be a parent. Since we have started this process of becoming licensed to foster in the state of Pennsylvania, we have sometimes sat back at the end of a tolling, therapy-filled day with P and wondered if we are making the right choice. Are we truly ready to take on another child that is in the “system,” do we have enough expendable time and resources to give to a second child that may or may not have some type of special needs, are we setting ourselves up for failure?
What Justin and I have discovered is that these are all normal, necessary questions to ask yourself while walking this journey; if you aren’t asking these questions, if you aren’t facing doubt and some sort of anxiety, you just might not be human! When you have those thoughts of wondering “why doesn’t somebody do something about that?”, guess what, YOU are that somebody. It isn’t going to be easy, it is going to take time, blood, sweat, and tears. But like I said, when you face times of discomfort, it is life screaming at you to grow! As a married couple with a special needs child, we sometimes feel as if we are straddling the line of insanity and some resemblance of sanity, as we wade through the foster care system. We are learning to live in that space, to embrace the ups and downs, and to realize that the next chapter we are about to embark on has nothing to do with us. We are simply willing persons that want to open our hearts and our home to children that desperately just need stability, love, and a family. Walking down this long, dusty road, we have discovered that we do have the resources to be foster parents. We have the ability to bring love into a child’s life during a time of turmoil that we cannot begin to imagine having to live through ourselves. Our hearts are open, the love for the children that will someday be placed in our home grows every day, and we acknowledge that some days we will wonder why we did this. And on those days, we will have an army of supporters behind us, reminding us that we are the hands and feet of Jesus.
Our journey has just begun, we are months, if not over a year, away from actually having our first placement. We have taken the training courses and received our certificate. Our next step is to submit the pile of paperwork with our application. We are beginning to drag our feet. Not out of cautiousness, but out of reality. Where we currently live is not set up to house another person; which in turn, means that we do not want our Home Study done in our current residence. We must begin the process of looking at other homes and waiting for things to fall into place. It just goes to show that when you feel God pulling you in another direction, sometimes you need to re-arrange your life to fit into where you feel God leading you. The children that will arrive in our home will be at a place in their lives where they are fragile, fragile as a dream; and we need all the love, strength, and prayers from you that you can offer. Not just for us and P, but for these beautiful, beautiful children.
As things progress, we will continue to write about it. We will vent our frustrations, voice our fears, and celebrate the milestones. It takes a village to raise a child. We look forward to seeing where this journey takes us, to experiencing the height of the mountain peaks and the depths of the valley. The view at each vantage point is beautiful and spectacular if only we remember to keep our eyes open. Remind us of that.
We have dropped our anchor. We are building a bigger and stronger foundation. The work will be tireless, but the end design will be crafted with the fingerprints of our nuclear family and our loved ones and friends. Can it be anymore beautiful than that?
Until next time,
Justin, Amanda, and P