My husband and I were married for 3 years before our son came to live with us, and almost 2 years have past since. We thought that having years alone would have taught us teamwork that could withstand anything. But no. The first year of being foster parents was extremely hard. There were, honestly, times where we didn’t know if our marriage was going to make it. If I could do it over, we would have been in therapy to help us process all the things. New parenthood. Trauma. Second-hand trauma. Setting up boundaries. Coping with stress in healthy ways. Communicating clearly. We learned a lot the hard way. This second year has been better, but not without its share of anxiety and heartache.
I know several of our local foster families who are hurting deeply. Some have recently lost children that they had grown attached to. Some are being told that their child will probably be moved, and to places that scare them. Some are dealing with illness. Some are sacrificing so much for children who aren’t capable of receiving all they’re pouring out.
I believe Christians are called to be a part of the redemption of broken stories, which is a huge part of why I foster. I believe God can also redeem the second-hand trauma that foster families go through, and use it to refine us, and make us stronger.
I read this quote today and it resonated so strongly with me-
“That's how family gets made. Not by ceremonies or certificates, and not by parties and celebrations. Family gets made when you decide to hold hands and sit shoulder to shoulder when it seems like the sky is falling….Family gets made when the future obscures itself like a solar eclipse, and in the intervening darkness, you decide that no matter what happens in the night, you'll face it as one.”
― Shauna Niequist
And, Dear God, we ask it to be so.