Isn’t that so true? The best gift you can give someone is you when serving ? Especially when children are so deserving of a loving family and upbringing. This is why we do what we do! The blessing is you!
We are so blessed to have 8x children in our home. 7x foster children and 1x biological child. We opened our doors and hearts when we had experienced the injustice on the children in our community first hand. The only way to make it work was to love with open arms and that meant stepping into the unknown. The unknown is always daunting. Especially when you think you have covered all the basis of being a good parent and a spouse. The amount of communication and trust that is needed to make your home function is almost unbelievable. But abuse, trauma, neglect comes with so many trials and obstacles that you could never actually imagine or know what to prepare for. It’s always something different when a new child arrives. It’s like you start all over. We have learned that it is okay to “start over” as each child is totally unique and different. The situation will always be different.
We can’t sit here and tell you that fostering children is the easiest thing to accomplish. I don’t think any book or “manual” (if there was one) on “what to expect when fostering children” would be able to prepare us for hardships, hurt, struggles and obstacles we faced as we first started out. We think it is important to leave that door open so that we don’t paint a picture that makes us think we are going to be this wonderful hero, which goes along with easy sailing and that everything is just going to be perfect.
However, what it has done is open our eyes to a type of love and understanding that we did not know existed. A love with action! You start to research and redefine your outlook towards life, people, and most importantly the well being of that child. The building blocks in early development are so important and consists of countless hours of love, patience, kindness and hard work trying to put all the pieces back together.
I remember the first little boy that walked through our doors. Our hearts racing with the continual overthinking of self-doubts, restlessness, excitement and the unknown. But when that child walks through that door and makes eye contact with the biggest of smiles, you kick into “safety mode”. You might over compensate with too much love, food, treats, gifts or whatever it is but the balance will set in. You learn to deal with heartbreaking situations, but this does not mean it makes it easier or that you ever get used to it – but you deal with it. Finding the balance and setting a solid routine always helps for the child to adjust. The first couple of days or even sometimes weeks we have labelled the “honeymoon” phase. The child is normally very good, tired, drained and they seem to easily slip into your routine and after your affection. However, when the routine becomes the normal and the child settles and that “honeymoon” phase can quickly be forgotten. Life gets real. You get to see the rawness, hurt, anger, frustration and difficulties that arise with child abuse and neglect. The hardest is to assist a child that is going through a detox of some sort. But patience is always key. With lots of faith and prayer.
Nobody ever told us that we might sit up all night with a little one who won’t move off the living room couch. Crying and clutching on to his blanket rocking back and forth staring into space as you try and piece together what is going on in their little minds. Nobody warned us about the bouts of uncontrolled anger as you watch on in disbelief as they break their toys for no apparent reason. Nobody informed us on how to prepare for a child that does not want anything to do with your other children, as you try teach them that it is okay to just be a child again. The hours that turn into days that turn into months before you can finally get a glimpse of child that does not scream when someone knocks on your front door, or hide under the bed when a door accidentally slams, or cry themselves to sleep every single night and wont allow you to come close. Or hide food in their cupboards and pockets. You start to question yourself, you strategies, and most of all the sacrifices that take its toll on your loved ones around you. As you will miss out on functions, cancel important events, and family get togethers. But eventually with time you will see a child that is happy. That is the true joy and why it is so worth while in fostering children. Building a platform and giving them the love and opportunities they so deserve.
The blessing is watching a child grow and start to form their own individual characters. The joy of seeing them take their first steps, or completing a first puzzle. There are so many wonderful memories to be made and personal milestones in each child’s life. The absolute terrifying experience of letting them go to school on the first day after you have spent almost every minute of your life with them while they heal and find their place. To watching them interact with others and not being afraid to branch out and try new experiences like riding a bicycle, or swimming in the ocean, or even just playing in the sand. My husband said something that stood out for me awhile ago that “We should never forget that not one of the children that come through our doors have asked to be here”.
So our home might be ‘upside down’ at times . You find yourself running from one room to another. As you clean up here so they will mess over there. We are tired at times, we make mistakes. But most of all we never look back and question why we opened our hearts and doors in the first place. The hardships are worth every single second. We have learned to love with action.
Our home is a bundle of experiences. Our lives have changed and we are truly blessed to assist where we can. As our family grows we find ourselves looking to assist more, reaching out and providing a safe home, with lots of love and support from our family and community. Its truly a great journey.
We are grateful to have you browse our website and find out a little about us and, our vision and our homes.
For more information please contact us.