I had four days of respite care for Baby Incredible, about which I don’t know how to feel, so I’m just going to skip right past that part. Let’s just say, I cried when I dropped him off, but when it was time to pick him up I was afraid that after four days out of my routine with him, it would be way too hard to start up again. Honestly, I was afraid I wouldn’t like it anymore, like maybe part of the reason for this respite care was that fostering had stopped being fun. That the good no longer outweighed the bad. That the fun no longer outweighed the hard.
Yes, I do this because it is important to me. I also do it because it is fun for me. But if I was only doing it for those reasons, I would have stopped long ago. This is something that God put on my heart. This is true religion. (James 1:27) And who said true religion was easy? Jesus didn’t; that’s for sure.
I didn’t know how I would feel when I picked the baby up from respite care. What I felt was happy. I felt happy to see him and that he was okay. I’m so grateful that what he had for me were some amazing smiles. After 11 weeks, he knows I’m mom. He did this thing that I’ve never seen him do before. He was burrowing his head in my chest. It was like he was smelling me to see if it was actually me or something. He missed me. He was happy to see me.
Last night, when I put him to sleep, I held him for an extra long time. When I put him down, he was totally out. I think we both needed that. To be perfectly honest, I wish I could stay home from work today and spend the day with him. My fears that this stopped being fun were totally irrational. Yes, this is still fun. And it is still hard. And I will still get frustrated and stressed and sleep deprived. I will still have days that I wish I didn’t have to find a babysitter in order to be able to go out with my boyfriend. And days where I wish I could just get ready in the morning without being interrupted. But ultimately, I feel humbled and grateful to be trusted with such an important task.
I have single friends who have thought about doing what I do, and possibly adopting. I think it is so easy for people to see the fun parts of this, the parts of this that so helpful and needed. And yes, foster parents are SO needed, as are adoptive parents. Although I firmly believe that your child is your child, biological or adopted, I also believe that adoption and fostering is a way different animal than having your own biological children. There are more parts, and it is messier, especially if you’re doing foster to adopt. I have a whole lot I would say to people who are considering fostering or foster to adopt. What all my words would boil down to, though, is this. You can never have enough support. I have a lot of support, and I can still use more. And, you will totally die to yourself. Everything you do has to be done out of the consideration for another human being. Another human being who has social workers and biological parents and a whole team of people deciding what is right for him or her. Similar to teaching, it really does need to be a calling.