Foster Care & Adoption are interesting scenarios — especially in the world we live today. We generally like to know what to expect, when to expect it and then of course any other details we can gather. We are not typically fans of the unknown. Sure we like to go on vacation and ‘see new things’ or go have an ‘adventure’ — but those are short lived ‘unknowns’, we settle back into the ‘normal’ when we’re ready. Major life shifts, like having a baby or getting married are permanent changes, you cannot click the undo button (without more major permanent change). In most scenarios however, we have time to prepare, process & ready ourselves for those permanent changes like having a baby or getting married — they are rarely immediate. We have time to ‘expect’ the coming changes.
Foster Care is a very different scenario — not better or worse — just different. We had dinner last week with a lovely family of 8 who was also in our Foster Class (long story, but they are Mom & Dad pros!). In our conversation with them we were struck with a beautiful thought I have been mulling on for nearly a week — that we (Clara & I) are indeed ‘expecting’. It’s an exciting thought — but one that usually is not associated with Foster Care. That said, we were talking about how excited we were, how we know nothing about the kids (ages, numbers, gender, anything) who will be coming to our home soon — and how exciting that is! It is of course the exciting/anxious/nervous/thrilled feeling… you know what I mean. The indescribable emotion of anticipation in the total unknown! We had not thought about it like that prior to last week, but we are expecting — and it looks totally different than the normal ‘pre-kid’ expecting.
Now we don’t have children yet, we have not tried to have children by birth yet — so my knowledge is limited to watching family and friends go through the 9 months of anticipation for their newborn baby — which is beautiful! It’s a joy to watch them get excited, shop for baby stuff, be blessed by family and friends with support and prayer, and wait with eager expectation. Of course there are some unknowns, and a variety of things can happen unexpectedly — but by and large we know what is to be expected at the end of a generally consistent amount of time. A beautiful baby!
We are expecting, but don’t have much of a time frame, knowledge of how many kids, their ages, their health, their background, etc. It’s all up in the air. And it’s been really good (something I can certainly attribute to a great deal of prayer from friends and family). It’s been really good because it’s caused us to lean into Trust — trusting God that He called us to this, and He is preparing us. It’s helped us to surrender and not hold onto trying to ‘figure everything out’. We can’t! We can only wait in eager expectation.
Whether it’s a direct result of that trust or not, I have slowly and steadily seen my wife flourish and grow. She is becoming a Mom, even though we have no idea what to expect. Watching her enthusiasm for decorating the ‘kid bedroom’, shopping for bunk beds, mattresses, bedding — sorting through toys and stuffed animals given by friends — is amazing. The transformation, in a relatively short amount of time is so beautiful. She is quickly growing into a Mother — one who eagerly is expecting a child (or children) in her home. I have even seen my priorities shift dramatically — when in the position to spend money on a new ‘toy’, I quickly realized it was time to set that phase aside and choose to make a ‘Dad’ decision — and say no to the purchase that is non-essential, because the kids we are expecting are so much more important. In some ways slowly, and in other ways quickly — Clara & myself are being given the mind and heart of parents.
So in all of that — we have grown to be very ‘content/anxious’ with our period of ‘expectation’, which thank God, because it’s an expectation that may not have a sense of finality. And depending on whether kids come and go or stay, we could be in a period of expectation for a long season. I suspect God will teach us more than we can fathom through it all.