The Three P’s Of Foster Parenting………..Prayer, Patience & Perseverance

Today’s court date did not go as well as I had envisioned in my mind.  It didn’t go badly, per se, it just didn’t end with Coconut’s adoption.   Was he supposed to be adopted by us today?  No……but, you can’t blame a girl for dreaming big.  In my perfect world, the judge would have banged his gavel, told the biological family that they have had plenty of time to meet the necessary requirements, and then he would ask us to rise so that he could grant us the heavenly privilege of being this child’s legal parents……the end…….and we live happily ever after.   Yeah, that didn’t happen.

When you are a foster parent with hopes of adopting one of your foster cherubs, all sorts of things run through your mind during the months and minutes leading up to a court date.  Will the judge see through the wispy veil of effort that some of these biological parents hand them?  Will they give a child back to their biological family just because they are related by blood, or will the judge see the bond that has been created with their foster family?  Will I have a voice when the time comes to make a decision on where this child will end up?  These are answers that cannot be answered without first going through a very lengthy and sometimes heart wrenching process.

Goldilocks’ pediatrician teared up when I told him that she would be leaving us. He told me that no matter how we try to prepare her, she will feel as if we have abandoned her…………Living with that knowledge, will be harder than actually saying goodbye to these babies.

In Coconut’s case, we got the awesome news today that the plan for him will indeed be adoption.  However, we also now realize that it might not just be us who has their hat in the ring…….relatives who have sat back on the sidelines throughout these last 18 months, could still rear up and change their stripes……..and they have four more months to do it, if they want to.  To us, four months seems like four years.

As a Christian woman, do I root for their failure?  Do I secretly pray that they can never get it together, which will clear the way for our family to adopt this precious boy?  The answer is no……..but, I am not always strong enough to live out that answer.  I have spent many hours in prayer talking with God, saying things like, “If it is Your Will”, and “Let Your Will be done”, but any human being reading this post knows that I don’t entirely mean it.  What  my heart is saying to God is more like, “Please let us keep him Lord”, and “Please give me the strength to accept Your Will, whenever we discover what that Will might be”.  He knows my heart and He knows my pain, no matter what actually comes out of my mouth.

Then there’s the case of Goldilocks.  When asked to provide a home for her, we were told that it was only supposed to be for 2 or 3 months…….which was over a year ago.  Now, Goldilocks is here with us on borrowed time.  She was supposed to leave us to go live with a relative about a month ago, right around the year mark of her coming to live with us.    I painstakingly packed all of her belongings with care, cried many tears over the thought of her not sleeping in her cozy little bed, and what our home will be without her laughter……….and then everything stalled.  We are ecstatic that we are able to have these extra precious moments with her, but it is also gut-wrenching that we will not know the exact date of her departure, until the day before she will have to leave.  Let’s just say that every time the phone rings, I feel a terrible dread that this could be the call that takes her from us.  I gotta tell ya, it’s not a happy place to be.

Yet, both of these situations reveal the true nature of Foster Care.  Love them, heal them, and be ready to give them back.  It doesn’t matter if the child has been with us 2 days or 2 years.  It doesn’t matter if they call me ‘Mama’………..but worse, it doesn’t matter if the child thinks that they are already home with a family who loves, adores, and takes excellent care of them.  In the end, in many cases, they still have to go home (or to a relative).

So, for now, we will enjoy them.  We will allow God to lead us through a very extensive and grueling lesson in patience.  Because we love these children, we will continue to persevere………as the very definition of persevere is:  continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success.  I think that word was created for foster parents.  Finally, and most importantly, we will continue to pray… God has His perfect Hand in all things.  If we practice the three P’s, we will find the fourth ‘P’ of foster care that eludes many, but can be found for the Believers………Peace.

I love Downton Abbey……..and I felt such a kinship with Ethel, and her pain, when she had to say goodbye to her precious boy.


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