What better time to receive a newborn baby than during the time of year where we celebrate the hope of the newborn baby – Jesus.
On December 17th, we were contacted to see if we would like to take our first foster placement. A sweet 6-day old baby boy would be the first placement for us to experience as a family. Silent night… I don’t think so!
The last week has been absolutely incredible. The response from friends, family, church, and The Restore Network has been amazing. We have had food, clothes, supplies, etc. dropped at our home. People have called, prayed, and visited to see this new little man. We have a community around us that is unbelievable. The last week was also really difficult. We had to jump back into having a newborn baby in the home: doctor’s visits, 3-hour feeds, spit up, feeling like a zombie from lack of sleep, stress, etc. etc. etc. So, while the week was incredible, it was also a ton of work!
Here is the reality that we cannot shake. We have a child that is not biologically ours because there is a family in the world that does not share the same support. While it is exciting to have a newborn in the home. We are equally disheartened by the reality that we have SOMEONE else’s newborn in our home. There is a family that will not get the experience of having a beautiful and perfect little baby boy to wake them up throughout the night. Could they? Absolutely. Do they? Absolutely not. The whole purpose of fostering is two fold: Provide a safe environment and Pray for reunification.
Andrea, my wife, went and visited with the biological mom on Friday. She said the experience gave her a great deal of hope, and helped her fully understand and grasp the purpose of fostering. The instructors try to teach you the purpose of fostering when you walk through the classes. It is not until you sit across the table from a mother, who has momentarily lost the right to provide for the baby you are going to take home with you, that you finally get what the instructors in the class was trying to teach.
So, while we are celebrating this holiday season of hope, we are also celebrating a real season of hope within our home. Of course we know how this whole process can go, but we are going to remain hopeful. We hope to continue meeting with the biological mom. We are hoping to build a healthy relationship with her. We are hoping she can experience the same community that we get to experience everyday of our lives. A community that enables us to provide a safe home, and pushes us to desire reunification. We are hopeful in the midst of an experience that seems hopeless. Could you imagine waking up on Christmas and not being able to hold your newborn? That seems as if it would feel pretty hopeless.
The beauty of the story that is told at an exceptionally high volume this time of year is that we can have hope. There is a baby who has come in a wooden manger, and who will leave on a wooden cross. His life. His Death. His Second coming. His perfect work is what will reverse the reality of momentary hopelessness in the world. We are aiming to remain grounded in that hope.
Here is how you can walk with us (and other foster families).
1.) Pray for the family fostering as well as the biological family. While a placement is exciting it is also fairly bitter for the family fostering.
2.) Do not kill a foster family’s optimism. They know what they signed up for. When they talk of their hopefulness in the biological family, allow them.
3.) Celebrate the season. Ask how you can be an encouragement to the family that is fostering. Chances are that need will change from day to day. Chances are they might not have the words to express what they need. Just be present and celebrate with them.