There has been so much “good” that has come from having this awesome little kiddo in our home. It’s really difficult to remember back to when it was just Sara and I… sitting in a quiet house. Having a nice steak dinner and a glass of wine, followed by an evening on the couch watching The Office or something. Those days seem like something we would read about in a fantasy novel.
But, we wouldn’t trade those cheap pleasures for having a smiling little boy run in the door after school with squeals of excitement and cuddling up for a story at bedtime.
There is a lot of GOOD that comes with fostering. Don’t be mislead!
Sara and I came into this with very different expectations. I was constantly telling her that this would be a really positive experience, and that we would think it was great all the time. She came into it with the assumption that this would be the single hardest thing we would have to do in our life together. She knew that God calls us to care for these kids, but she definitely wasn’t coming at this thing because she thought it would be fun or easy.
Turns out that we were both wrong. Imagine that!
There has definitely been a middle ground that we find ourselves living in.
The Good part about fostering in our case has been that we have been able to see tangible progress in this little one’s life.
When he walked into our house back in January, practically shaking out of fright, he was not in a good place. He was a wreck emotionally. From a medical standpoint, he was pretty neglected. His teeth were a real problem. There were just LOTS of tangible and intangible things that needed to be addressed pronto.
Although we are far from having him where he needs to be, to try and compare the little boy that runs through our house now with the one that creeped through out front door would be night and day.
Simply having a stable environment has done wonders for him. Being able to have access to doctors on a regular basis has cured some relatively simple issues that he had. Being encouraged and hugged and read to has opened up new worlds for him.
As we entered into this journey, we told ourselves that if the only things that we did for a child that came into our home for a period of time were to get them on the level they need to be when starting kindergarten and to help them understand the gospel, then we would consider this beyond a success. As a high school teacher, Sara is constantly faced with the product of a child that simply wasn’t where they needed to be when they started kindergarten. So much of your life course is determined by that pivotal year. If you start out behind everyone else, you will most likely be spinning your wheels trying to catch up for a long time.
So, we have tried to narrow our goals for him to those things. We really just want him to be able to have a good start to his education. This is an area that we’ve seen some progress in. He’s still pretty far behind… but, he now has some advocates that will walk into this school and work with his teachers. We reinforce things at home and are trying to always get him thinking and counting and finding letters places. Those have been good things to be part of. They’re really good for his future, and have been little rewards for us along the way.
This little boy also now understands that when he gets in trouble for doing something, it’s not because he was “bad”, but because he “disobeyed”. We are really upfront with him that we expect obedience from him, but that none of us are “good”. Ryan and Sara mess up constantly. If you ask him, he can tell you that the only person that has never done anything wrong is Jesus.
Hearing things like that are like icing on the cake for us. Having this little person in our home that we are able to share truth with and help him understand the gospel is a very good thing. We are blessed by his laughs. Our day seems lighter when we hear his funny perspective on things. We are personally much more aware of our selfishness and have been faced with the ugly things in our hearts by having a kid in our home. All very good things for us!
So, don’t be fooled… fostering is a very good thing.
And, yes… it’s FUN too.