Before becoming foster parents Leo and I had the privilege of attending a missionary training institute for several weeks. It was an intensive preparation for living lives of service overseas.
At the time we had no plans to foster and everything we studied was through the lens of moving to another country, serving a strange people, learning a new culture and language. And yet…
Obviously, we are not where we imagined we would be by now, but that missionary training has been the greatest preparation and resource we could have never planned for.
One thing we remember learning is that the biggest stress a missionary will face isn’t language learning, cultural differences, disappointment or any other expected difference. The biggest stress will be other missionaries. Apparently the same goes for foster parents.
We’ve experienced this quite a bit lately and our latest has been because we are providing respite for two little girls. Well, they’re not so little. The seven year old and I could share some clothes and she’s nearly as tall as I am. The five year old comes up to my nose and we wear the same size shoe.
They’ve been a challenge for sure. But. They have offered us and our children a precious, precious gift. They changed the family dynamic. There’s no longer three of us versus three of them. We’re not struggling to accept the new behaviors of Lyberty and Raj. In a matter of 48 hours our family of six is adjusting to two foreign bodies. We’ve rallied and we’ve grown in affection.
The daily little stresses our four normally bring seem so easy and minor compared to these two and their strange and loud and messy ways.
Recently, I looked across the table and recognized my sweet little faces and my “small heart grew three sizes that day” (name that movie!)
It’s that moment we’ve been waiting for, and unsure it would come in time. It doesn’t mean our decision about what happens after termination (which could still not happen, of course) has been made, mostly because we still don’t know what the options are, but it does mean that we’re feeling right minded enough to make it when the time comes.
Our hearts are a little less divided today.
So… T minus 25 days…