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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Foster Family

"... let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." ~1 John 3:18

I keep trying to come up with a fantastic, creative way to announce that we are an officially licensed foster home again, but I can't find the right words.  So...we are thrilled to announce we have fulfilled the requirements, met the standards, and completed the goal we set out to accomplish!  I once again claim the title of "foster mom".  

~"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do.  God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

After being foster parents for nearly 10 years, we let our foster license expire last March.  We thought that chapter in our lives had come to an end.  By mid-summer God began speaking to my heart.  Whispering..."I'm not done with you yet."  I dismissed God by my understanding of how much work it would require to become re-licensed.  I recounted the heart-ache, the tears shed for a broken system, the pain associated with the road of foster care.  But I also thought of the babies, the triumphs, the service, the love, the aspects of foster care that you cannot measure with time, or money, or what "I get out of it".  

Summer passed and I continued to ignore the whispers that tugged at my heart.  Sure, Mark and I had conversations about it, but it was always something for the future, or put on the back burner. Summer faded into fall.  Fall bring busyness and activities and there seemed there was no time to think about a foster license.  But one night in October, one conversation with a friend, one little boy, would become my inspiration for our return.  

October 23, Mark and I turned in our first big packet of paperwork.  It would be three long months before everything would be finished.  So much has changed in the world of foster care in the last 10 years.  The licensing processes were VERY different.  Ten years ago, it was classes, paperwork, home inspection, license.  This process was paperwork, doctors appointments, finger prints, classes, interviews, home inspection, another home inspection, another interview, home inspection, interview my kids.  I felt I was put through the fire, so to speak.  There was not an area of my life that was left untouched or not discussed, questioned, or written about.  Parenting styles, medical history, education, sibling relationships, parental relationships, marriage, faith, career, personal goals, family goals, kids special needs, financial worksheets, etc... I felt very vulnerable and emotionally spent after this experience.

But I was CALLED to foster care, we were led back.  It wasn't a question of if, but when.  And no matter how many hoops we had to jump through, we were determined to complete the process.  And we did.  The completely exciting and terrifying part of this process is that we are uncertain of God's plan or direction within foster care.  Ten years ago, we got our foster license with the sole purpose of adopting and becoming parents.  This time we aren't waiting for a specific child.  We are out of our comfort zone, but that is good.  We are ready to serve and ready to be used, to give sacrificially to others both children and families.  We have been filled up to be poured out, and I am anxious to see all that Lord has purposed for us.  And now we wait for the opportunities. to serve....and though we have been licensed for only two days...the phone has already been ringing..

.~"The harvest indeed is plentiful, but the laborers are few."  Matthew 9:37

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