Monday, September 04, 2017

The End of Summer and Pondering What is Ahead

We had a beautiful day at the beach today and it was just what we needed. This summer we returned to being a family of five, had two big road trips, adjusted to being home again and then finished with renovations. It feels so good to be back to normal, well, until we start transitioning back to school tomorrow. I feel like Gary and I are in a mid-life crisis of sorts completely connected to fostering; it's this huge inner struggle between doing what we know can to make a difference in the lives of others and at the same time recognizing that we need to weigh the effect of that on our mental/emotional/physical health and well-being. 

With the two of us, we can parent our three children well. However, when we add another child it alters changes everything and I don't think I'm comfortable giving my three so much less than what they could be getting – we don't have extra support to fill in those gaps. That said, it depends on the placement. We've had five different children in our home over the past two years (for long-term, short-term and relief placements) and while some could work long-term, others would not.

I know our kids would love another foster sibling and they don't complain when they get less of our attention but it's hard on Gary and I – our marriage suffers and our relationship is a priority to me and to him. 

We're in a tricky spot because I know there's a need. I know there's more children to love. I know we can do it well. 

I don't think it's okay to sacrifice your health and there's no guarantee of the needs that a child will have and the interactions that you will have to moderate between all of the kids.

Right now we will take the month to adjust to school, continue doing relilef care for other foster parents and help out with our first Little One with some sleepovers and dental visits. (Yes, you can stay in touch with the children that have lived in your home–we are connected to all of them still!)

I guess the question is: How much of a challenge do you invite into your home? We know that in return there is love and growth but there is a cost. Other foster parents seem to do it so well and I just don't know what the secret is – maybe we're too old or lacking some special ingredient.

I know we don't need an answer right now but it's what we are struggling with. I guess a lot of people deal with these questions in regards to going back to work full-time or moving to a new city or having more children – it's just hard when you know that on the "pro" side of the pro/con list there is a child's well-being at stake and the love you could be giving and receiving.

So that's where we are at – completely enjoying the stage that we are in and where our kids are at while pondering what is ahead. I think that's what makes it hard: Our kids are all going to be in school (Nya part time) which means things are so much easier and I can finally have "me time" and work more and do what I want.

I'm not sure what is ahead but if you see a foster parent, encourage them. It is hard work – can you tell we were burnt out from our last placement?! It is fulfilling and important and I know we will do it again, I'm just not sure when. Maybe I need to re-read my own pep talk

How do you get through those big decisions? Talking with those you trust and appreciate? Prayer? Time? Just diving in? 

Hope the back-to-school transition goes well for you, friends!



  1. No harm in giving yourselves some time to adjust to this new phase in life with all the kids in school (part time for N). You'll see what this looks like for your family and yourself and may have a more clear answer in the next month or two. Big decisions for me are based on talking to my parents, friends, and through prayer. Rarely do I ever dive right in (sometimes I wish I could though - I'm just too much of a planner and don't want to make the wrong choice that may end up with consequences I'm not prepared to handle). Thinking of you guys and praying that the next step, whatever it is, will become more clear to you soon!

    1. Thanks Beth. I'm a big planner too 😊 I think the thing with my parents (and in law) is they would encourage less risk but I do always ask my dad his opinion. Thank you for your help always!!