Yesterday was the celebration of Father's Day. And other than saying that I've been blessed with a great father and a great husband, I don't want to talk about fathers at all.
I want to talk about foster care.
I can't share much with the world other than to say my daughter has been certified to do foster care.
I have had the privilege of observing her, and interacting with her little visitors for the last two weeks.
I am not going to judge the situation that landed these children in her care as I don't have facts, and there, but for the grace of God, go I. Honestly, I can't imagine there is a single person on the planet who would enter into the daunting world of parenting with the plan that their child(ren) will enter the foster care system someday. The pain felt by every person involved in the breakdown of a family has got to be tremendous.
That said, I have to share a little bit of my experience with this huge thing in my daughter's life. For starters, all of the people who have had a chance to cross paths with my daughter and her little ones will experience life and love being played out. The grace I've seen, the heart expanding to embrace every bit of the experience, the unconditional love... I tell you, it's amazing to see your child grow into a woman of integrity and beauty and grace. Then the children. I have become a foster grandmother to little ones who may or may not be part of my life for much more than a few weeks. Honestly, my heart is going to break a little or a lot (it will get harder each day) when they return where they belong and leave my life. Every conversation, every hug, every smile and kiss that these sweet kids are sharing with me is precious. I can't help but love them and I can't help but pray for them. My hope is that through this transition time that their parents are doing everything they are capable of doing to become the kind of parents that nurture and heal. If not, I'm praying that this brief period of time will show these children how precious they are so that when they make choices they choose life.
I can't imagine how much more powerful this must all be for my daughter. After all my involvement is minimal. I didn't sit through forty hours of training and homework. I haven't had home visits or phone calls where I had minutes to determine if my house was a proper fit for a child or children. I didn't have to listen to and read about case studies of real situations and go home and process reality for some children.
I don't have to tuck children into bed and see them first thing in the morning. I haven't had to show patience and compassion when they are processing through negative emotions. I haven't had to comfort a crying child who misses a parent.
God's heart is toward the women and children who have no husband or father. He has asked us to care, too.
I encourage you to join me in saying thanks to foster parents who step out in faith and hope that they can make a difference in a child's life. Pray for children, pray for families, pray for the caretakers who are willing to love these kids. Pray that they will indeed make a difference in each life they touch.
Change. I've learned to embrace it, ride it out til the end. Sometimes I'm kicking and screaming, other times weeping with my eyes clinched tight. Once in awhile I ride like a dog in a car, head out the window snorting what life has to offer. Mother to young adult children, a marriage of thirty years, and a desert to mountain to valley waltz with God have shaped me into someone I never imagined I'd be. Life is short and I want to live it. Tears, sighs, laughter and change. Every morsel granted to me. Scrambled, shaken or stirred.