Fostering by Committee (I mean family)

Craig got some baby rocking time in today which means he also got some puppy rocking time. So here’s Craig with his two babies… *grin* When we got Baby M, E3 had been with us for 2 weeks already. Then he left and J5 came. Now he’s gone and we still have Baby M and I’m telling you, caring for JUST a newborn *almost* feels easy compared to caring for a newborn plus a needy 3yo or a newborn plus a behavior-challenged 5yo. We had a heart to heart talk today at lunch as it was just the 6 of us around the table and we couldn’t really even remember when the last time that had happened was. We asked each other a lot of questions. Questions like:

  • What do you think? It’s been a month. Yay or nay?
  • Should we make one of the bedrooms a permanent foster kid room? (This one from Maddie and Chloe who are saying they are willing to move in together in Maddie’s room and turn Chloe’s room into the permanent foster kid room)
  • Did you feel like you got neglected during this process of us caring so deeply for these hard needs of the other kids?
  • What do you think we should do differently next time?
  • Should we stick with one kid at a time or are we okay with two?
  • Could we do two babies at once? How about two 5yos? Maybe we should stick with one baby and one older if we do two?
  • Is it okay to take a break sometimes?

And more and more and more. We couldn’t be more proud of the way our four girls have jumped into this new stage of life with full intention and just downright hands-on help. And we want to be super sensitive to how they are processing each situation as it arrives as well. And we want to be reasonable with what we can do while at the same time not mistaking saying no to hard cases which God might have planned for us for a short season. I was honest today when I said I needed a breather from a really tough case for a while. It’s not to say we won’t end up with another one at some point, but not yet. Maddie and I are taking a little trip later next week for a speech and debate tournament she’s competing in and we told our case worker we couldn’t take another older child at least until after that trip. We’ll reevaluate as a family when we get back.

It’s easy for me to say I want to keep nurturing the newborns. I was born to snuggle babies and I don’t mind being tasked with having to wipe a lot of undesirable things off of a lot of unusual places at really random times of the day. Of course, the newborns will tear my heart out the most because it’s just *so* easy to get attached to a newborn who is dependent on you for every single thing and doesn’t really know another family except you. So, yep, pretty much hard every time. But that hard is easier for me than the hard of being screamed at for segments of each day and kicked and called all kinds of names. Some of us are better suited for one type than the other. Maybe. But maybe God will ask us to take more of those kids on occasion as much for our own good as for the kids. We’ll see. I do draw the line at my own kids getting hit. I need my own kids to know we won’t compromise their safety and security in our home while we try to provide the same for others.

The last month has provided a steep learning curve for all of us and I have a feeling we’re not quite done yet. And as hard as it’s been, I think the only thing I’d really wish away would be the hard, sad stories each of these kids has come to us with. Because if I could wish that away for them, I would. I’d do it in a heartbeat.

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