These last couple of weeks have been a little abnormal, with my uncle passing away, us having Big Sis and Little Bro for a weekend and then Gracia was running a fever yesterday….so that’s why there haven’t been any posts in a while.
Last weekend we had Big Sis and Little Bro again. We took them for the weekend to give their current foster parents a little break. It was so encouraging to see how well they’re doing and I’m forever grateful to their loving foster parents for taking care of these precious kids!
Okay, onto how fostering is changing use. I’ve already written a little about how fostering has helped our parenting, but it’s grown us in more areas than just that. Cameron and I recently worked together to write up a paper about what fostering has been like, and how it’s been fostering while doing missionary training. I want to share just a part of that paper for any of you curious as to how it’s been for us
Being involved in the foster care system, especially as foster parents, has been an incredible experience for our family. It has grown us in so many ways. God has used it to show us areas of inconsistency and laziness in our parenting. God has used it to teach us flexibility and contentment in less-than-ideal situations. God has used it to train us and the kids in patience and endurance.
We both say that working as foster parents has been the most fulfilling ministry we have ever been involved in! It has been amazing getting to be a part of the young kids’ lives, and share God’s message with them. We know that they will always have memories of us and our home, and will hopefully remember the seeds of truth we were able to plant in their minds….
…Fostering has given us the opportunity to put into practice much of what we learned in classes here at MTC. We’ve used principles from Foundational Bible Teaching, teamwork, and Biblical Peacemaking, just to name a few!
We can truthfully say that God has used our experience as foster parents to teach us and grow us more than any other time in our life, and we would do it all over again given the chance.
In conclusion, we wanted to quickly summarize a few of the areas that we have had challenges in, or seen growth in, regarding our time of fostering while attending classes here at MTC:
- Balancing classes, outreach ministry, work detail, side jobs, supporter contacts, AND foster care. This has been the biggest challenge of all. It required us to sacrifice several things, such as time with friends or vacations, but with God’s help, we were able to do it. We would be dishonest to say that it was easy for us, or that we were not frustrated or exhausted at times, but we are still thankful for it. We see how much God used it as training. The rest of our life will likely be even busier, and we are glad to have had this time of ratcheting up our responsibilities.
- Taking the kids to class. (I don’t think I’ve mentioned it on the blog, but the last couple of months of classes we took Gracia and Little Dude to classes with us). Having our child(ren) with us while attending classes or working is something that will likely be in our future. It was good practice for us doing this now. The kids have learned better how to be in class with us and we have learned better how to entertain them quietly.
- Us working together as a husband/wife team. We had previously worked as a team poorly. We each just did our own thing, had our own set of responsibilities and rarely worked together on a project. Having so much on our plate did not allow us to do that, we had to coordinate constantly. For instance, in class we worked it out so that one of us would sit in the back of the class with the kids, while the other one sat up front taking notes, and then we switched. We’ve also had to work together in things like disciplining the kids and simply encouraging one another. We have grown a lot in our ability to function as a team.
- Parenting. Fostering has helped us immensely in our parenting. With one child it was easy to let things slide, but with more kids it’s forced us to be more consistent. Also with foster kids we’re so much more intentional in our parenting knowing we may only have them for a short time and it’s helped us realize we need to be more intentional with parenting Gracia as well.
- It’s helped us be more open with our home and realizing that family is sometimes temporary. We have no idea what our future holds, but it might involve people coming in our home and this has been good practice for us.
- It has immensely helped us with our time management, with more things on our plate we’ve had to be more intentional with our time and we were able to put to use some of the things we used in time management class. Even before we fostered, we were attending MTC classes and foster/adoption classes, so we were busy.
- Taking care of kids that are not ours by birth (among other things) has shown us how weak we are and how much we need to depend on our strong God for the strength to endure. We both agree that of all the things in our life, fostering has been one that has helped us to grow more than most of the others.